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Nevada Conservation League’s policy director on Ralston Reports tonight

By ThisIsReno

Lake Tahoe image courtesy of Nevada State Parks by Bob ConradNCL NEWS RELEASE

Kyle Davis will be talking to Jon Ralston tonight about the pros and cons of the recently approved Tahoe regional plan, and about the importance of keeping Nevada in the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact. This is the bi-state regional compact that created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), which governs land use in the Tahoe basin and is responsible for meeting and maintaining environmental thresholds. Please take a moment to watch the show. It is crucial that Nevadans understand that the new regional plan is only a first step in protecting the lake we love. Until SB271 is repealed, the future of the lake is at serious risk.

What is at stake here?

SB 271 was passed in the final moments of the 2011 legislative session. This legislation pulls Nevada out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact if certain conditions are not met. Nevadans who live and work in the Tahoe basin have been genuinely frustrated by the fact that the Regional Plan had not been updated since 1987, and approval of a new plan was the key condition to keeping Nevada in the accord.

Last week, a new plan was approved which aims to balance sensible development of the basin while preserving environmental protections. It is time to repeal SB271.

Why is it so important that SB 271 be repealed this session?

*The bill is written in such a way that Nevada will automatically pull out of the compact in 2015, even with a new regional plan in place. Legislative action is necessary in order to keep the compact in place.

*Key environmental safeguards are included in the compact. If Nevada pulls out, all of these safeguards disappear. There will be a period, probably a long one, when there will be far fewer regulations governing invasive species control, pollution control, development of the Tahoe basin and other issues that are crucial for the health of Lake Tahoe.

*The Tahoe basin will immediately lose millions of dollars that it currently receives from non-state agencies for environmental protections and improvements.

How will that affect Lake Tahoe?

Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to Tahoe’s dazzling blue waters and world-famous clarity. TRPA leads the battle against Asian Clams, a species so tenacious that our best-case scenario is to control them. Quagga mussels pose an even greater environmental risk to Tahoe than Asian clams, and these mussels are becoming increasingly common in our neighboring waterways. TRPA leads the intensive effort to prevent this destructive species from colonizing our lake. If Nevada pulls out of TRPA, it is not at all clear who will have the authority and the funding to take on these crucial battles, which require basin-wide cooperation and significant financial support. So one very short term result of pulling out of the compact would almost certainly be a dramatic rise in invasive populations, with devastating consequences to the lake. The long-term consequences are almost unimaginable.

Why is NCL involved?

Before every legislative session in Nevada, conservation groups from across the state sit down together to determine four top shared priorities for the upcoming session. The Nevada Conservation League, which is not a voting member in this process, fights for those priorities during the session. Repealing SB 271 will be one of our top priorities in the upcoming months.

Ralston Reports is on every weeknight at 6:30 in Reno, on Channel 4 and in Elko on Channel 10, and at 7:30 in Las Vegas on Channel 3.