Meyers will learn about Tahoe bill |

Meyers will learn about Tahoe bill

Residents of Meyers hope to have their concerns about the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act worked out during a public workshop Wednesday night.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in June introduced a bill – S1192 – which would make the act possible. It could change the designation of the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe branch and bring $300 million to Tahoe over the next 10 years.

Supporters say the money won’t be accompanied by more regulations. The Meyers Roundtable – an advisory body to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors – isn’t convinced.

“We need to understand what strings this comes with,” said Sue Yang, president of the Meyers Community Roundtable. “No money ever came from the federal government without strings. We need to understand what those are and what consequences they bring.

“I would definitely not say we’re against it,” she added. “Until we understand its impact on everyone in the basin, and specifically the county, I think it would be premature for anyone to say they’re against it. We just want a total understanding of the bill and its impacts.”

Officials from the offices of U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., and California Sen. Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, are expected to participate Wednesday. Members of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition, a local group which helped Feinstein’s staff draft the bill, will be there, too. A Feinstein representative couldn’t make it, Yang said.

Feinstein’s bill proposes to change the Forest Service’s designation from the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit to the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Forest and Recreation Area.

Additionally, the bill would authorize $20 million annually for the Forest Service to implement environmental restoration projects, and another $10 million a year would go to other local governments for environmental projects.

A portion of the funds will be for acquiring environmentally sensitive lands. Some of the residents of the county, who live in environmentally sensitive areas, fear their property rights may be in jeopardy with the bill, Yang said.

Steve Teshara of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition said those concerns are without merit.

“We’ll be talking about that issue (of property rights),” he said. “It’s an important issue, but the language in the bill is very clear there’s no intent by the federal government to acquire property through condemnation or any process other than having a willing seller.”

However, he said he thought the Wednesday meeting would be a good venue for residents to better understand what is being proposed.

“I think it will be a good opportunity for people to come up to speed on the bill,” he said.

The bill has received public support from several Tahoe governments, including the city of South Lake Tahoe and Douglas and El Dorado counties.

What: Meyers Roundtable

When: Sept. 15, 7 p.m.

Where: Meyers Elementary School, 1095 East San Bernardino Ave.

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