Lake Tahoe funding included in Interior bill, says Nevada Sen. Dean Heller | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe funding included in Interior bill, says Nevada Sen. Dean Heller

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Sen. Dean Heller says critical funding to protect Lake Tahoe and detect wildfires in the basin is included in the Interior Department's appropriations bill.

Heller, R-Nev., said the legislation includes language directing the U.S. Forest Service to implement the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act he sponsored and provides $3 million to support wildfire management in the basin along with $500,000 to help organizations working to prevent and fight wildfires. That includes money for AlertTahoe, a camera system to help firefighters around the lake spot and respond to fires.

"As a lifelong Nevadan and an avid outdoorsman, Lake Tahoe remains a source of memories for me and my family including my four children and two grandchildren," Heller said.

Re-authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was included in broader legislation signed by former President Barack Obama in December 2016. Overall, it calls for $415 million to be spent on Lake Tahoe projects.

The broader bill split the California and Nevada Senate delegation at the time of its passage, due to opposition from outgoing Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Harry Reid, D-Nev. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is running for re-election in 2018, joined Heller in voting for the legislation.

Heller, who also will be up for election in 2018, thanked the Senate Interior and Environment appropriations subcommittee for recognizing the importance and value of the Tahoe basin.

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In addition, he introduced the Emergency Fuel Reduction Act to expedite processes for prevention projects on public lands such as those in the basin.

Tahoe Tribune staff contributed to this report.