Gore: Tahoe should be an inspiration
Since the 1997 Tahoe Summit, more than $1.69 billion has been invested in improving Lake Tahoe’s environment:
• $554.5 million by the federal government
• $647 million by California
• $110.2 million by Nevada plus some $200 million through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act that sells federal lands near Las Vegas and uses the money to buy environmentally sensitive lands in the basin
• $73 million by local governments
• $312.3 million by the private sector
Nearly 414 projects have been completed, 194 are under way including:
• Erosion control on 628 miles of roadways
• Treating 54,248 acres for hazardous fuels
• Restoring 15,896 acres of wildlife habitat
• Adding public access on 2,579 linear feet of shoreline
• Crating 136 miles of bike and pedestrian pathways
• Treated 24 acres of lakebed for weeds and Asian clam infestation
Former Vice President Al Gore warned against global warming Monday during the Lake Tahoe Environmental Summit.
Sixteen years after organizing the first summit with President Bill Clinton and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Gore urged the Tahoe Basin communities to not only restore the lake’s environment, but to serve as an example to the world in the battle against global warming.
“I believe that Lake Tahoe can be a symbol,” Gore told a crowd of about 700. “If the communities around this lake can find a way to become sustainable — not just in name only, not just with the label, not just with a few efforts — but truly and genuinely sustainable, then the Lake Tahoe communities could play a more import role in inspiring the world than any national park could.”
He said Tahoe could become home to a global summit each year to present sustainable technologies and innovations to reduce global warming pollution.
Gore said that could “make this place not only awe-inspiring for its beauty but awe-inspiring for the demonstrable commitment of the men and women and children and families and businesses and organizations that live here.”
He said that kind of commitment could help the world find out how to solve global warming.
Gore said it would be appropriate to take place at Lake Tahoe, where efforts appear to have slowed the lake’s historic clarity decline.
“This started without partisanship,” he said. “This started without ideology. It continues without regard to partisanship, or politics or ideology. You got that going for you. Our country needs a bit of that, really.”
Senate Majority Leader Reid, who said organizing that first Tahoe Summit was “the most significant thing he has done,” introduced Gore. Reid said that it was Gore who turned what could have just been “a photo opportunity” into a conference that has changed Tahoe.
Gov. Jerry Brown said the collaboration between then-Republican governors Paul Laxalt of Nevada and Ronald Reagan of California in the 1960s created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. He said that collaboration continues without regard to party between himself and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Sandoval also stressed the need for collaboration, pointing out that he and Brown are working together to ensure the future of the lake. Before Monday’s summit the governors signed a proclamation pledging cooperation between the two states on forest health.
Brown said the lake is improving but that there is work to do.
Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said a new bill to pump $415 million in federal funding into the basin is making its way through Congress. She said its chances are good in the Senate but that “we will need help in the House.”
“The House is not known for doing constructive projects right now,” she said.