A lean piece of federal legislation benefiting Lake Tahoe passed the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, Oct. 8.
It next goes to the full House for consideration. If passed there, it heads to the U.S. Senate.
The bill, Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, focuses $50 million in funding for fire prevention and combating aquatic invasive species.
California Rep. Tom McClintock and Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei introduced the House bill as an alternative to the Senate version introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein from California and Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller.
In a statement, McClintock specifically addressed fire prevention and aquatic resources.
“It calls for new revenues generated within the Tahoe Basin to stay in the Tahoe Basin for environmental improvements,” McClintock stated. “It also augments efforts to protect the lake from invasive species that have already devastated many other lakes in the West.”
The original Lake Tahoe Restoration Act expired in 2010.
The bill would specifically expedite active forest management and fire-risk reduction projects; revenue generated by timber sales and recreation would stay in the Lake Tahoe Basin; it would expand the current boat inspection program; it would promote tourism on federal lands; and it would require mandatory local government involvement in all land acquisition decisions that directly impact communities.
The Senate version provides $415 million for a much larger picture, including $150 million in fire-risk reduction. Past attempts to reintroduce the act failed.
“For the last eight years, Tahoe legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has not moved off the Senate floor,” McClintock stated. “This House bill has been carefully crafted to fit within the budget parameters set by Congress and it addresses the two most immediate environmental threats to the Tahoe Basin. I believe this bill has an excellent prospect for passage out of the House.”