TRPA compromise on way to governor’s desk

The bill withdrawing Nevada’s threat to pull out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is on its way to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s desk.

The state Senate accepted a final amendment to SB229 on Wednesday. Sponsor Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, pointed out that the legislation is contingent upon California adopting matching legislation so the states are on the same page in managing the bi-state agency that rules the Tahoe Basin. That includes mutual support for the amended Tahoe Regional Compact developed over the past two years by lawmakers from both states; representatives of both Sandoval and Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento; and other stakeholders including local officials of the five counties at the lake.

Given that Sandoval was instrumental in working with Brown to develop the compromise language, he is expected to sign the bill.

It would repeal legislation passed two years ago that threatened that Nevada would withdraw from the compact for managing the lake. Nevada supporters argued the existing TRPA compact has allowed environmental groups and their supporters among the California members of the Governing Board to block development — even when the projects were intended to improve the water and air quality at the lake.

Nevada’s bill is credited by many involved with bringing California officials to the bargaining table to reach a compromise acceptable to all. The proposed new Regional Compact was, in fact, supported by all but one member of the TRPA Governing Board.

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said “a compromise regional plan update where all sides had to give a little was achieved.”

“What you see before you is a compromise solution that moves us forward,” he said during the Assembly hearing on the bill.

Also on Wednesday, the California Senate approved the revised agreement. The vote on SB630 was unanimous to ratify the agreement. The bill now heads to the California Assembly.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, who pushed for withdrawal two years ago, said he thinks the new plan will help turn things around at the lake.

Both states also agreed to support that new plan when it comes before Congress, which created TRPA and must weigh in on its management plan.


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