Tahoe Restoration Act faces congressional deadline
WASHINGTON – If Lake Tahoe is going to get $300 million in federal money for environmental restoration, the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act must be approved by the House or the Senate before Sunday.
On Monday, the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which will provide $30 million a year for 10 years for restoration efforts in the basin, passed through the House.
But that doesn’t mean the bill is ready to be signed by the president yet.
Because of text changes, the bill will either have to be reintroduced to the Senate or the House will have to approve the original Senate version.
“We are trying to work it out so it won’t have to go back to the Senate,” said Jim Hock, press secretary for Feinstein.
Because of the text changes, the bill will either have to go back to the Senate or the original Senate version will have to be approved by the House.
Already three weeks overdue for this Congressional session, those at the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., say she is hard-pressed to get the bill passed.
“We are running out of time. We only have a few days,” said a representative for Feinstein.
But locals expecting to see the benefits of the money remain optimistic.
“It looks like it definitely will pass,” said Linda Massey, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
The bill, when passed, will provide $30 million a year for 10 years to Lake Tahoe to help put a stop to the declining clarity of the lake.
The projects outlined in the $908 million Environmental Improvement Program aims to stop the clouding by 2007, a date when scientists believe damages to Lake Tahoe become irreversible.
The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., will pay almost one-third of the project costs.
As a federal agency and largest land owner in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Forest Service would be responsible for administering the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act funds.
The bill requires the Forest Service to develop a priority list of environmental improvement projects and authorizes $200 million over the next 10 years to carry out these projects on federal lands. The bill also authorizes $100 million over the next 10 years to local governments for erosion control projects.
For information on the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, go to the Library of Congress site on the Internet:
The House version of the bill is HR3388
The U.S. Senate version is S1925
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A fair amount of snow is expected for Truckee this week, and highs are forecast to linger around freezing until at least Friday.