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Tahoe representatives take cause to Washington

ANDY BOURELLE, Sun News Service

SOUTH SHORE – Officials have been posturing for months. The fight begins this week.

All six of Tahoe’s congressional representatives and four members of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition are planning to testify Thursday at the first hearing of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act.

“It’s the first real public discussion of this issue in Washington,” said Rochelle Nason, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, co-chair of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition and one of the people who will testify. “We think that it’s important. It begins the process of building support in Congress for what we’re doing here. We’re very excited about it.”

The bill would allow the federal government to authorize $30 million a year over a 10-year period for Tahoe environmental restoration projects.

U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., last year introduced S1192 which has commonly been referred to as the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition – made up of various agencies including the League to Save Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance – helped Feinstein’s staff draft the bill. The region’s other senators – Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Richard Bryan, D-Nev. – and numerous Tahoe officials attended a rally in June 1999 to support the bill.

In November the bill was revised to appease concerns of Reps. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and John Doolittle, R-Calif. The revised version, S1925, has the support of all six of Tahoe’s Congressmembers.

In addition to Nason, the other coalition members who plan to testify are Steve Teshara, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, Duane Wallace, executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, and Stan Hansen of Heavenly Ski Resort.

“It’s the first hearing on the Senate side, and this is certainly very important in getting the process of legislative review off on the right note,” said Teshara, co-chair of the coalition.


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