TRPA will sue over chopped trees |

TRPA will sue over chopped trees

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against a Grass Valley-based timber land management operation, concerning alleged illegal logging of trees on Lake Tahoe’s west shore.

However, TRPA attorney John Marshall said agency officials are confident negotiations will continue and that a resolution will be reached outside a courtroom.

TRPA filed the suit only because the legal statute of limitations was about to run out and the defendant, Menasha Corp., had not signed a waiver to that rule, Marshall said. The Tahoe City Public Utility District, which owns the land where the logging occurred and is involved in talks with TRPA, signed the waiver and was not named in the complaint, which was filed in federal district court in Sacramento.

TRPA claims that about 27 trees of 30 inches or more in diameter were illegally felled. TRPA requires prior approval before any tree of that size is cut. Trees of that size would likely be more than 100 years old.

TCPUD provides sewer and water service to customers from Dollar Hill to Emerald Bay and also acts as the parks and recreation department for that area, providing bike paths and hiking trails for area residents and visitors.

The 110-acre project area where the logging occurred borders Homewood Mountain Resort. The land, with the exception of hiking trails, is undisturbed forest and is open to the public. TCPUD hired Menasha to thin the forest to reduce the wildfire hazard.

Over-snow tree removal happened in April. TRPA officials in June said conditions of the permit, which allowed the work to be completed, were violated. Negotiations about possible repercussions have been ongoing since.

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