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Tahoe Summit: New Leadership Unifies, Embraces Challenges


PRESS TALK: Senator Dianne Feinstein with California Governor Gavin Newsom and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. Image: Don Dike-Amukam.

By Don Dike-Anukam

LAKE TAHOE — Newly elected governors from California and Nevada yesterday came together on the shores of Lake Tahoe for the annual summit focused on Lake Tahoe’s water quality.

Steve Sisolak and California Governor Gavin Newsom joined Nevada’s U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, and California’s senior Senator Dianne Feinstein, who hosted this year’s summit.

“We believe in climate change; we believe in science,” Newsom told ThisisReno. “And we’re rowing in the same direction. So I think that’s very significant. I want to just acknowledge Governor Sandoval for his work, and (Governor Steve) Sisolak.”

Newsom was briefly interrupted by activists at the end of his speech, but he later posed with them for photos.

The focus of this year’s summit was climate change and its impact on Lake Tahoe. It was Sisolak’s first summit.

“I was really impressed by the incredible turnout of the folks that are here to participate, here to listen, and here to do what they can on behalf of the lake,” the Nevada governor said. “It’s great to have them…here talking about and learning about what they can do to help the lake.”

“We should be sobered by the fact that this all this around us tomorrow could go up in a conflagration, and we’ve seen that all across western states.”

Speakers also included Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.). Both serve districts in Northern California that were impacted heavily in 2018 by wildfires.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto praised the work of local researchers, who have documented the effects of climate change.

“Science shows [climate change] is happening every single day,” she said. “When you have that rise in water temperature rise on the lake, it decreases the clarity and invites more invasive species.”

Gavin Newsom Interview

Don Dike-Anukam interviews California Governor Gavin Newsom.

McClintock of California emphasized the importance of dealing with forest management. He was referencing the devastating forest fires in 2018.

“We should be sobered by the fact that this all this around us tomorrow could go up in a conflagration, and we’ve seen that all across western states,” he told ThisisReno. “The good news is, I think we’ve turned the corner. And at last year’s conference, we can talk about … getting the expedited authority to start thinning out our overcrowded forests. Now we can actually look at the projects that are underway.”
Brittney Covich, an attendee, said that “climate change is one of the biggest threats that we’re facing across the Sierra Nevada region… and elsewhere. It’s really good to hear all of our leadership kind of hone in on that message as climate change is here, we’re living it, it’s real. We need to start addressing it very seriously…”
The message from Lake Tahoe: Lake Tahoe’s world-renown clarity needs new stakeholders on both sides of the Nevada-California border.

The summit was held the South Lake Tahoe Valhalla Resort.

Environmental activists at the annual Lake Tahoe Summit. Image: Don Dike-Anukam.
Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.