Efforts to cut Lake Tahoe in half, or at least the governance of the basin surrounding California and Nevada's shared treasure, were put to rest Tuesday after an agreement was reached to continue the two-state partnership known as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Nevada passed a law in 2011 that had the Silver State withdrawing from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact in 2015 following a longstanding dispute centered on how much development to allow and where. The two states have tussled over Nevada's calls for more development in order to boast the economy and California's efforts to preserve the natural environment.
California Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, introduced a bill earlier this year to create a contingency plan should Nevada officially end the 44-year marriage. The California bill will be amended to reflect today's agreement and Nevada will repeal their 2011 law.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a joint statement calling off the divorce: "This agreement renews our commitment to work together to do what's best for the environment and economy of the Lake Tahoe region."
The newly reached compromise, which needs approval from Congress, requires each state to consider economic impacts when adopting regional plans for the area and establishes a burden of proof for challenging a regional plan.
Both states still reserve the right to withdraw from the planning agency.
PHOTO CREDIT: A kayaker paddles along the south shore of Lake Tahoe under the watchful eye of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench