Letter: League condemns Placer County approval of Martis Valley West project
The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently voted 4-1 to approve the controversial Martis Valley West proposal.
This is bad news for Lake Tahoe. By approving Martis Valley West, Placer County is consenting to threats to Tahoe for which no solution has been proposed. In their decision, the majority of supervisors ignored the environmental laws California has set up to protect important places like Tahoe. This sets a terrible precedent.
California environmental law is meant to ensure adequate analysis of the negative impacts of proposed development, and requires solutions be implemented to address the impacts that cannot be avoided. No solutions were advanced to address the project’s estimated increases in traffic at Tahoe.
Traffic is one of the most significant sources of pollution threatening the Lake’s clarity. This decision brings us too close to the threshold for car trips in the Tahoe Basin, a figure expressed in vehicle miles traveled. Cumulatively, traffic from the proposals at Martis and Squaw would bring Tahoe within 3 percent of Tahoe’s threshold for vehicle miles traveled.
Future projects located inside the Lake Tahoe Basin may now not be approved because of our nearness to the threshold. This is unfortunate, as Tahoe’s Regional Plan Update would require such in-Basin projects to deliver environmental benefits to Lake Tahoe. Will it become a new norm for area jurisdictions to ignore threats to Tahoe, and pile up development just outside the Lake Tahoe Basin? Organizations such as ours will continue to advocate for Lake-friendly redevelopment and a stronger set of protections for Lake Tahoe.
Darcie Goodman Collins, Ph.D.
League to Save Lake Tahoe Executive Director