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Vice President to chair Tahoe workshop

Patrick McCartney

Vice President Al Gore arrives at Lake Tahoe Friday, and will kick off the two-day Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum by presiding over a symposium on Lake Tahoe’s troubled environment.

Attendance at the Vice Presidential Issues Workshop Friday in South Lake Tahoe is by invitation only. During the workshop, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater, Gore will be briefed on issues developed since May at a series of community forums and Cabinet-level workshops.

Gore will then report to the president Saturday at the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum in Incline Village, where Clinton will unveil a number of initiatives to help restore Lake Tahoe’s water quality and the basin’s forest health and air quality.

The visit by Gore and President Clinton, who arrives Saturday, is intended to signal the administration’s commitment to restoring Lake Tahoe, a senior White House official said Wednesday.

Katie McGinty, the director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the president and vice president believe the consensus that exists in the Tahoe Basin exemplifies their view of environmental politics.

“Lake Tahoe is a perfect example of how the environment and the economy go together,” McGinty said. “In that respect, Lake Tahoe’s message is a national message.”

She referred to campaign statements by George Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996, that Americans had to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

“The president and vice president’s message is the opposite,” McGinty said. “The economy and the environment go hand in hand. They are inextricably linked. And we think that Lake Tahoe significantly demonstrates that.”

McGinty said that any spending commitments the president makes Saturday must be made “within the contours of the balanced budget agreement.”

Even so, she added, the president intends to pay the Tahoe Basin environment more than lip service.

“We have invested a great deal of time and effort in preparing for the president’s visit,” McGinty said. “When the president arrives, he will have significant things to say for taking specific action. He will bring a real and substantial commitment to the table.”


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