Water bills

Lake legislation

Legislation related to Lake Tahoe during this session of the Nevada Legislature deals mostly with environmental issues.

Legislation related to Lake Tahoe during this session of the Nevada Legislature deals mostly with environmental issues.

PHOTO/JERI CHADWELL

Learn more about this session’s legislation pertaining to the lake by visiting the Nevada Legislature website: www.leg.state.nv.us.

Friday April 12 was the deadline for bills in the Nevada Legislature to have made it out of committee or fail. The deadline saw the death of 274 bills. But as the Legislature continues its 2019 session, there are several measures pertaining to Lake Tahoe that are still alive.

Assembly Bill 93 made it out of committee one day before the deadline. This bill makes changes to the way money from special license plates is distributed to groups to be used for the “support of the preservation and restoration of the natural environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.” Existing law authorizes the administrator of the Division of State Lands in the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to provide grants from money raised through special license plate sales to other public agencies to use for support of these preservation and restoration programs. AB 93 would amend the existing law to also allow for grants to be distributed to nonprofit organizations working on similar projects.

Assembly Bill 220 is related to the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program, now in its 22nd year. The bill authorizes another $8 million of the $100 million in general obligation bonds authorized by the state in 2009 to provide money to carry “certain environmental improvement projects included in the second phase of the program.” For those who may not know, the program was launched in 1997 and is a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies as well as private landowners and the Washoe Tribe.

According to the text of Senate Joint Resolution 7, newly available data shows that nearly 10 million automobiles are driven on the Lake Tahoe Basin’s roadways each year. This resolution was drafted to express “support for finding innovative transportation solutions in the Lake Tahoe Basin and for the efforts of the Bi-State Working Group on Transportation.” The Bi-State Working Group was convened in 2018 by California and Nevada to identify the region’s transportation challenges and funding shortfalls and prioritize solutions. The Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, which represents more than 30,000 members and supporters in Nevada, wrote a letter in support of SJR7.

The summary for Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 states that its goal is to express “support for the role of science in the Lake Tahoe Basin” and to recognize “the role of the Tahoe Bi-State Executive Committee and the Tahoe Science Advisory Council in guiding environmental preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin.”

The Tahoe Science Advisory Council was established by a formal agreement between the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and California’s natural resources agencies in 2015. The council is comprised of representatives from six different research institutions, including Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Reno. Among its members’ current projects is a comprehensive review and update of the environmental thresholds, standards and indicators—from noise to air quality—for the Tahoe Basin. According to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the current environmental threshold standards were adopted by in 1982.