TRPA deal headed to Congress |

TRPA deal headed to Congress

by Geoff Dornan

The deal to reform the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is headed for its final step — ratification by the U.S. Congress.

The most recent step was the Dec. 19 proclamation by Gov. Brian Sandoval certifying that California has met the terms agreed to by the 2013 Nevada Legislature under Senate Bill 229.

“Where we are now is basically working with California and the TRPA on what is the best way to engage our (congressional) delegations,” said Leo Drozdoff, director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

That process began with the passage of legislation by the 2011 Nevada Legislature to withdraw from the TRPA unless California, environmental groups and local governments in the Tahoe Basin agreed to changes.

The biggest change called for is requiring consideration of economic conditions in adopting regional plans to control development in the basin, and to shift the burden of proof in challenging a regional plan or decision by TRPA to the party challenging the action. Under the long-standing compact, that burden has always been on TRPA.

The compromise plan also cedes a significant amount of authority long held by TRPA to the five local governments in the basin and the two states.

The new plan was formally adopted by TRPA’s governing board a year ago.

“We passed ours. They passed theirs,” Drozdoff said. “The final check to make sure they matched up was this proclamation.”

He said both states, along with TRPA and most other partners involved, have also agreed to a united effort to get Congress to ratify the changes to the compact that rules planning and development in the basin.

The deal won praise from the Nevada Conservation League and the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

Darcie Goodman-Collins of the League to Save Lake Tahoe said when the compromise was announced that the agreement protects the lake. Kyle Davis of the Conservation League made similar comments at the time.

The only group not on board is the Sierra Club, which almost immediately sued to block the compromise plan.