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August 28, 2014

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Deal reached to preserve bistate compact protecting Lake Tahoe

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and California Gov. Jerry Brown have reached an agreement to keep the two states in a decades old compact to protect the environment around Lake Tahoe, agreeing to ease some barriers for development and mollifying the concerns of some environmentalists.

The agreement comes two years after the Nevada Legislature passed a law requiring the Silver State to break the compact if substantial changes weren't made by both the compact and the regional plan governing how the sensitive environment is developed. Environmentalists launched an effort this year to repeal the 2011 law, succeeding in convincing the Nevada Senate to pass Senate Bill 229 to keep Nevada in the compact.

The agreement between Sandoval and Brown resulted in an amendment to Senate Bill 229 that will eliminate the withdrawal provision if both states pass changes to the compact making it easier to approve development and more difficult to sue to stop changes in the regional plan. Both states also will have to urge Congress to approve the changes to the compact.

“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 of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “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.”

The 2011 law was pushed through by a coalition of businesses at Lake Tahoe who complained the dysfunctional Tahoe Regional Planning Authority, and constant lawsuits by environmental groups, made both development and strengthening environmental protection measures nearly impossible. Since then, however, the board has take action to update the regional plan and governors from both states have worked to reach an agreement.

The amendment to Senate Bill 229 is expected to be introduced at an Assembly Government Affairs Committee hearing today.

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