California, Nevada governors agree to preserve Lake Tahoe Compact, renew commitment from both states

The governors of California and Nevada have agreed to renew a bi-state partnership to preserve, protect and enhance Lake Tahoe through the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Compact.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Calif. Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced Tuesday an agreement that renews the partnership, which has been under threat of repeal.

“This agreement renews our commitment to work together to do what’s best for the environment and economy of the Lake Tahoe region. We urge state legislators and Congress to help us protect Tahoe’s future by taking action,” said both governors in a joint statement.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe applauds the compromise that would preserves the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, a 44-year-old agreement between both states that allows for uniform environmental regulation of Lake Tahoe.

“The people of Nevada and California made it clear that protection of Lake Tahoe is a high priority,” said Kyle Davis, political director of the Nevada Conservation League. “We want to thank Governors Brown and Sandoval, Majority Leader Denis, Speaker Kirkpatrick and all of the other Nevada and California legislators that worked to make sure that both states were committed to the future of the lake.”

“We have been working all year to find a solution that would make both states happy while also preserving strong environmental regulation and protection for Lake Tahoe by keeping intact the Tahoe Compact,” said Darcie Goodman-Collins. “This agreement does just that. We hope for swift passage through both legislatures so that Tahoe’s communities can move forward with some certainty about their regulatory environment.”

Under the agreement, developed with Legislative leadership from both states, amendments will be introduced to bills in the Nevada and California state legislatures that repeal Nevada’s planned withdrawal from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact in 2015 and California’s proposal to re-establish a California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 2014.

With these amendments California and Nevada will be able to continue important work to implement the updated regional plan for Lake Tahoe.

Each state has also committed to placing provisions in statute that require consideration of economic conditions in adopting and implementing regional plans, as well as language establishing a burden of proof for challenging a regional plan and decisions. In addition, the compromise confirms each state’s rights and authorities in relation to membership in the compact.

The governors vow work closely with state legislators and Congress to ensure they consider and act upon these amendments. The amendments will be made to Nevada’s SB 229 and California’s SB 630. Some updates to the compact will require approval by Congress.

More than four decades ago, the governors of California and Nevada and lawmakers in both states approved the bi-state compact that created a regional planning agency to help oversee development at Lake Tahoe. In 1969, the U.S. Congress ratified the compact and created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The compact also called for a regional plan that established a balance between the natural environment and the human-made environment. This plan was updated last year.

Both governors attended the Tahoe Summit in 2011 and 2012 and committed to continued cooperation on issues affecting Lake Tahoe.

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