Lake Tahoe Talks Ease Tensions Between States

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – California and Nevada renewed their agreement to “preserve and enhance the Lake Tahoe region,” the states’ governors said.
     “This agreement renews our commitment to work together to do what’s best for the environment and economy of the Lake Tahoe region,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a joint statement. “We urge state legislators and Congress to help us protect Tahoe’s future by taking action.”
     Lake Tahoe is a 191.6 square-mile lake located in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the California-Nevada border. It is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 1,645 feet, the second deepest in the United States. Voted “America’s best lake” by USA Today in August 2012, Lake Tahoe attracts visitors year-round who swim and sail on its famously clear waters, and hike and ski in the snow-capped mountains.
     Scientists with several major universities, including University of California, Davis, and University of Nevada, Reno, work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to preserve the lake’s clarity and protect the surrounding environment from the “effects of industrialization and urbanization,” according to Lake Tahoe’s official website.
     The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency also collaborates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve endangered species.
     California and Nevada formed the planning agency in 1969 with a bi-state agreement establishing an organization to manage development at Lake Tahoe and protect the environment, according to the statement.
     Their new arrangement will send amendments to each states’ legislatures, repealing Nevada’s intended 2015 departure from the Tahoe Compact and California’s proposal to set up its own planning agency in 2014.
     Nevada had threatened to leave because it believed California’s strict environmental protection standards hampered development, hurting Nevada’s already distressed economy, the Associated Press reported
     Soothing this fear, the Tuesday agreement details each state’s rights as a member of the compact.
     Lawmakers in both states must now introduce bills that will, among other things, make economic consideration mandatory when creating regional plans and establish “a burden of proof” that challengers must meet before disputing a regional plan.
     The states say the agreement enables them to better carry out Lake Tahoe’s regional plan, which was updated last year.

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