Tahoe committee will meet
A committee formed to represent Lake Tahoe agencies and individuals with the federal government will meet Thursday for the first time.
The long awaited Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee – commonly referred to as the FACA committee because it is made possible by the Federal Advisory Committee Act – was formed in December as a result of President Clinton’s Executive Order of July 26, 1997, which called for the creation of a public citizens advisory body to address protection of the environmental and economic health of the Lake Tahoe Region.
Jim Baetge, executive director of TRPA and one of 19 members on the committee, said the committee will help momentum going from the 1997 Presidential Summit at Lake Tahoe and continue cooperation between the federal, state and local governments.
“I see (the meeting) as really good news,” Baetge said. “If you didn’t have this FACA group, over time you would start to lose players. This is going to help keep it all together.”
The committee will meet with local representatives of the Federal Interagency Partnership – made up of the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior, Army, Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – to determine the best ways to help Lake Tahoe.
“One of the tasks we need to talk about is what should (the federal partners) be involved in. What are the issues we should be addressing?” said Juan Palma, forest supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “We already have a good start. We know transportation is a big issue. We know forest health is an important issue. Recreation. We know the mother of them all is water quality. But there are other issues maybe we should get involved with, maybe not.”
The committee is expected to help with the implementation of the Environmental Improvement Program. The cost for the EIP is estimated to be about $900 million, and one-third of that is supposed to come from the federal government. The committee should be able to help prioritize projects and determine how to best obtain federal dollars for use at Lake Tahoe.
The work completed at the first meeting may be largely administrative, with committee members appointing a chair and deciding how often to meet in the future. However, officials said it would be a good opportunity for interested public to learn about what’s being done to save Tahoe’s clarity.
“I think it’s good to get the public involved in this,” Baetge said.
Last year the Forest Service received about 50 nominations for the committee, and local representatives of the Federal Interagency Partnership went through the list and made recommendations to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. He appointed the 19 members in December. The committee members include representatives of a variety of interests and two public at-large seats.
Steve Teshara, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance and co-chair of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition, was appointed to the committee and said he is looking forward to getting started.
“There are a lot of things going on that I certainly think this committee should be involved with,” he said.
What: Meeting of the Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee
When: Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Conference room, Super Eight Motel, 3600 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
Members of the Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee
Steve Teshara, gaming
Rochelle Nason, regional environmental
Jamie Ziegler, national environmental
Stan Hansen, ski resorts
Ronald McIntyre, North Shore economic/recreation
Duane Wallace, South Shore economic/recreation
Robert McKenney, resort associations
Lori Gaskin, education
John Bohn, property rights
Kathryn Kelly, science and research
Kerry Miller, local government
Brian Wallace, Washoe Tribe
Dennis Machida, state of California
Pam Wilcox, state of Nevada
Jim Baetge, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Donald Starbard, labor
Jennifer Merchant, transportation
Leo Popoff, member-at-large
Merlyn Paine, member-at-large
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The reopening of U.S. Highway 50 starts 8 a.m. today for residents and property owners in preparation for its full opening 8 a.m. Tuesday.