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May 31, 2011 > Senators vote to give Nevada a way out of TRPA

Senators vote to give Nevada a way out of TRPA

By Deb Weinstein, Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP), May 27 - Lawmakers voted 19-2 Friday to give Nevada a way out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Senate Bill 271 would allow the state to immediately walk away from the decades-old Nevada-California compact if TRPA fails to adopt several changes by 2014. It would also give the governor the opportunity to renew the partnership for three more years.

The TRPA oversees environmental protection and development around the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The changes the bill demands from the agency include:

- Ending the supermajority requirement for the governing body of the agency.

- Updating the regional plan to take Lake Tahoe Basin's changing economic conditions into consideration.

- Requiring that anyone challenging a plan has the burden to show how it violates the compact.

Critics have called TRPA a bully and have blamed the agency for holding up projects such as paving a driveway.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, told the Senate that SB271 represents a compromise. He said it maintains Nevada's partnership with California and will help the Silver State have its interests heard.

The legislation, he said, would give Nevada the ability to say, ``We don't want you to shut down everything Nevada thinks or does.''

Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said threatening to leave the compact is not the right way to resolve the tensions and lawsuits that have bubbled along the state line.

``It almost encourages people to do nothing. For those who want to get rid of TRPA, there is no incentive to work on a new regional plan at all. Their best option is to do nothing and hope that Nevada withdraws in 2014,'' she said.

Leslie said the bill could harm the lake and send a message that ``Nevadans care more about the needs of builders and developers than it does about the health of Lake Tahoe.''

Changes would need approval by California and Congress, which created the agency in 1969.

The bill now goes to the Assembly.

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