by Tom Lotshaw

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June 28, 2014
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No mediation in Sierra Club appeal of TRPA ruling

Mediation has been ruled out in the Sierra Club’s appeal of a court ruling that upheld the regional plan update the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted to guide development in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore appeal is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. Mediation between the two groups and the TRPA was ruled out June 17, according to court records.

“We were ordered by the ninth circuit mediation service to submit statements regarding whether we felt this case was amenable to mediation,” TRPA general counsel John Marshall told the TRPA Governing Board this week. “We responded positively, but recently got an order from the service saying they will not recommend or order the parties into mediation.”

That determination likely means the mediator saw no realistic chance for the parties to settle their differences, Marshall said.

Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore sued TRPA shortly after it adopted the regional plan update in December 2012. The groups argued that the update to a 1987 regional plan failed to account for the impacts it will have on soil, water and air quality and will fail to protect Lake Tahoe’s sensitive environment by allowing substantially more urbanization in the basin — claims TRPA strongly disputes.

U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez ruled in favor of the TRPA and dismissed the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore lawsuit in April, prompting the appeal.

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The Record Courier Updated Sep 14, 2014 11:07AM Published Jun 28, 2014 04:29PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.