Harry Reid praised at his final Lake Tahoe Summit as elected official | SierraSun.com

Harry Reid praised at his final Lake Tahoe Summit as elected official

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

STATELINE, Nev. — This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Lake Tahoe Summit — and the final year in office for its creator, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

Reid, who has served in the Senate since 1986, hosted the first-ever Lake Tahoe Summit in 1997 to draw national attention to the declining health and clarity of the lake. It was attended by then-President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

At this year's event, Reid highlighted the work that has been accomplished since that first summit.

"Lake Tahoe is better today than it was when we started two decades ago," expressed Reid. "Time and resources have been dedicated to water clarity, removal of logging roads, transportation upgrades, developing meadows for water runoff, hazardous fire reductions, and the best scientific research in the world.

"So, today's Tahoe Summit is a celebration of progress; a celebration of unity. Though, there is still much more to be done. We cannot be complacent. Our work is not finished."

Back in 2000, Reid worked with stakeholders and members of Congress to pass the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which secured $300 million over 10 years for restoration efforts.

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Currently he is working with California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer — both speakers at this year's summit — to reauthorize the act for 10 more years of funding.

Keynote speaker President Barack Obama praised Reid's dedication to the environment.

"Right after I took office the very first act Harry's Senate passed was one of the most important conservation efforts in a generation," Obama said. "We protected more than 2 million acres of wilderness and thousands of miles of trails and rivers. That was because of Harry Reid.

"Last summer thanks to Harry Reid's leadership we protected more than 700,000 acres of mountains and valleys right here in Nevada, establishing the Basin and Range National Monument."

Reid also established Nevada's first and only National Park — Great Basin National Park — in 1986. He championed bills such as the Clean Water Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Clean Air Act; and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

The president stated that Reid will "go down as one of the best leaders the Senate has ever had."

"I could not have accomplished what I accomplished without him being at my side," expressed Obama. "So I want to say publicly to the people of Nevada, to the people of Lake Tahoe, to the people of America. I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid."

Reid, 76, announced in March of 2015 that he would not running for reelection after five terms in the Senate.