Gibbons joins call for joint fire commission | NevadaAppeal.com
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Gibbons joins call for joint fire commission

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Gov. Jim Gibbons joined the call Thursday for creation of a joint Nevada-California commission to study forest management and fire prevention in the Tahoe Basin.

In a letter, he asked California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to join him in creating the blue ribbon commission.

“The unfortunate tragedy of the Angora fire requires us to revisit the original goals and principles of the TRPA to ensure that they continue to protect the resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin,” he said in the letter.

The idea has been backed by local officials as well as California lawmakers.

TRPA was called for in the 1960s by Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and California Gov. Ronald Reagan to better protect and preserve the Tahoe Basin. Congress and President Richard Nixon created TRPA as a bistate management organization to manage the entire basin in 1969.

But TRPA’s power has been questioned by residents who say its regulations have become a bureaucratic nightmare that interfere with, rather than help, forest and basin management.

“I do not believe that what former governors Ronald Reagan and Paul Laxalt envisioned and created in 1969 was ever intended to put the life and well-being of residents of the Lake Tahoe area at risk in order to ensure the scenic beauty of the area,” Gibbons said in a release endorsing the commission plan. “When people need to consult a 171-page landscaping guide before knowing whether they can rake up pine needles, the bureaucracy leads to deadly and dangerous results.”

He said a joint fire commission will make sure local, state and federal land management agencies in the have a way to implement effective fuel management processes and help prevent fires from starting or escalating.