South Lake Tahoe, CA..Amid little media fanfare, the City of South Lake Tahoe won a major court battle recently
against the League to Save Lake Tahoe. The City’s decisive court triumph got little to no
coverage in the regional media, a far different reception than when the League filed suit
against the City back in June of last year.
At the time, the League claimed the City’s general plan—one of the greenest and most
sustainable plans in the state of California—“would allow for the construction of 1,000
new housing units in six-story buildings spread over 100 acres.”
That claim was patently false and the League knew it was false. But that didn’t stop the
League from attacking the city in the media or tying up the City’s shrinking resources to
fight a year-long battle in court over a plan that was developed with extensive community
participation and environmental review and took years to complete.
In January, U.S. Eastern District Judge Garland Burrell dismissed the League’s lawsuit,
stating “the League has failed to demonstrate any such ‘risk that serious environmental
impacts will be overlooked.’”
That’s because the League’s claim the City’s plan of “uncontrolled growth” was simply
untrue and has been since 1987. The 1987 Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)
Regional Plan successfully capped growth, considering a host of environmental impacts
from water quality to animal habitat to scenic impact to natural conservation.
In short, no other place in the world is more closely regulated than Lake Tahoe.
For thirty years, the message at Lake Tahoe has been limited growth.
The number of new or renovated buildings or businesses in Tahoe in the past 20 years
can be counted on two hands.
The latest scientific evidence points to our decaying 1960s infrastructure as the most
critical threat to lake clarity. It’s the runoff from our crumbling roads and inefficiency
of our dated infrastructure that are causing significant environmental problems. It’s not
building more that is causing problems. It’s not being able to rebuild what we already
have that’s causing lake clarity degradation.
We must rebuild Tahoe green to keep Tahoe blue.