Facts and myths about SB271
By the League to Save Lake Tahoe
A coalition of Nevada conservation groups and scientists opposed SB271, a bill that sets a deadline to withdraw the state from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.
Keep Tahoe Blue News
Jun 20, 2011
When Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt helped to create the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 1969, he famously said, “The lake is not going to go gray on my watch.”
Read the bill as signed by Governor Sandoval.
FACTS about SB271:
- SB 271 undermines TRPA at a time when the agency is charged with leading the effort to protect Lake Tahoe from the invasive quagga mussel, just when the threat of infestation appears to be increasing in Northern Nevada.
- SB271 places the TRPA’s future existence into doubt, and creates massive uncertainty for all property owners and businesses at Tahoe.
- SB271 decreases Nevada’s sovereignty when it comes to approving a Tahoe regional plan or changing environmental regulations. The legislation eliminates the “bi-state concurrence” needed to approve a plan. Under SB271, a plan could pass without agreement from a majority of Nevada board members.
- SB271 makes it easier to weaken environmental regulations by reducing the number of votes required from each state to make such changes.
MYTHS about SB271:
- FALSE: The bill allows for the “option” to withdraw from the Tahoe Compact at a future date. TRUE: If the governor or Legislature do not act to repeal the bill, the default is that Nevada withdraws from the Compact.
- FALSE: SB271 allows Nevada to “stand up” to California. TRUE: SB271 threatens the sovereignty of both states by eliminating the requirement of bi-state concurrence for plan adoption.
MYTHS about TRPA and Tahoe’s environmental regulations:
- FALSE: Nevada does not have equal representation on the TRPA board. TRUE: Nevada and California each have 7 members on the TRPA board. In addition, a Nevadan serves as the non-voting 15th presidential appointee.
- FALSE: Nothing gets done in Tahoe. TRUE: The TRPA board has approved virtually every development project that has come before it in the last decade. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds have been spent on restoration projects in the past 15 years.
- FALSE: Tahoe homeowners cannot paint their houses, build decks, or conduct defensible space against fire. TRUE: The vast majority of homeowners can make home repairs and modifications without any more of a burden than if they lived in many other jurisdictions. The small percentage of lakefront and lake view properties are subject to additional regulations because of their impact on scenic views by the public enjoying the lake. Because of the 2007 Angora Fire, complete consensus now exists among all agencies and stakeholders that defensible space is an overriding priority.
- FALSE: Tahoe’s property owners do not have to follow modern buildings codes. TRUE: Tahoe’s property owners must follow all local and state rules including current building codes.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
At a time when Tahoe is critically endangered by aquatic invasive species, climate change, urban runoff and catastrophic wildfire, SB271 undermines the agency charged with its protection. The bill makes withdrawal from the TRPA a near certainty by demanding that California waive its sovereignty in return for Nevada waiving its own – a waiver that should be unacceptable to either state.
SB 271 injects the TRPA — the “patient”— with a terminal illness rather than a potential cure. While the patient certainly is sick and needs care, a death sentence will not help.