More Federal Funding Urged At Lake Tahoe Summit

Aug 24, 2015

Sen. Dean Heller speaks at the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Summit on Aug. 24.
Credit Julia Ritchey

Officials at the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Summit on Monday said more federal funding is needed to preserve and restore the popular Alpine lake. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and brings us this report.

It's been nearly two decades since President Bill Clinton first held a summit at Lake Tahoe and directed federal agencies to coordinate to protect the lake. 

But while those federal funds are winding down, a host of old and new threats continue — everything from wildfires to invasive species to carbon pollution. And this has a slew of officials urging Congress to renew funding.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller hosted the two-state event. He's sponsoring a bipartisan Senate bill to provide $415 million to the Tahoe Basin over the next 10 years. 

"This isn't a partisan issue; it is a Western issue, it is a bipartisan issue and it sells itself," says Heller.

Despite some bipartisan support, the Tahoe Restoration Act has failed to pass Congress for five years.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a co-sponsor of the bill, says the funding is critical to Lake Tahoe's future. 

"If you decide that this is a lake that you want to save, as the only clear water lake in America, you can't do it without money," she says. 

Both senators say there's no guarantee, but they hope this is the year they pass the bill.