Governors pledge to resolve disputes over Lake Tahoe

HOMEWOOD, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval pledged Tuesday to work together to protect Lake Tahoe and try to navigate differences over development and environmental controls.

The two governors at an annual summit on the Tahoe basin’s ecosystem signed an accord that calls for reducing the amount of fine sediment that enters the lake over the next 65 years, with a goal of achieving clarity to 97 feet by 2076. That target comes after a report that said Lake Tahoe’s clarity fell more than 3 feet last year to 64.4 feet, its second-lowest reading since the 1960s.

They also agreed to work together toward a new regional plan for managing the basin.

"We are going to work very, very well in the future," said Sandoval, a Republican, at the forum, held at Homewood Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s west shore.

Nevada enacted a law this year calling for the state’s withdrawal from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which was created by Congress in 1969.

Nevada lawmakers complained that votes needed for the 14-member governing board to approve regulations and projects are stymied by an environmental bias from California.

The law calls for Nevada’s withdrawal by 2015 unless the voting scheme is changed. It also demands adoption of a new regional plan within 18 months that includes the Tahoe Basin’s economy as a factor. Another element would require opponents of basin projects to bear the burden of proof if lawsuits are filed.

Since the first Tahoe Summit , $1.55 billion in funding from private, federal, state and local government sources has financed environmental improvement programs in the Tahoe Basin.

Most of the federal dollars, roughly $300 million, have come from the sale of federal lands in Southern Nevada.

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