Letter to the editor: TRPA’s economic makeover isn’t so pretty
As a 20-year ful-ltime resident of the Lake Tahoe Basin, I feel I must respond to the and#8220;TRPA Viewpointand#8221; letter written by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s executive director. Very clearly, this letter announces that TRPA has blessed itself to be the and#8220;Economic Managerand#8221; and economic planner for the Basin. This, in my opinion, demonstrates again TRPA has again chosen to reinterpret Articles I an II of the TRPA Compact, which establishes the existence of TRPA as well as defines the scope of its responsibilities.
It is my belief that TRPA’s proposed management of the Basin’s economic makeover is not within the scope of its legal authority. The Compact delineates TRPA’s responsibilities as the protection, preservation and conservation of the and#8220;irreplaceable …unique environmental and ecological values of the regionand#8221;.
Although the Compact indicates that the and#8220;management of the social and economic health of the regionand#8221; is important, it does not indicate that these concerns should have priority over the basic mission.
In fact, the Compact says nothing at all about facilitating and/or promoting economic growth. If and#8220;Tahoe’s economy has been in a sustained freefall for more than a decadeand#8221; (as cited by the executive director), it is not the responsibility of TRPA to desecrate the environment in order to satisfy business and development interests.
It appears that TRPA is hoping that protection of the environment can be accomplished regardless of the level of and#8220;economic growth,and#8221; which at Tahoe equates to and#8220;increase in tourismand#8221;.
TRPA has long ignored the concept of and#8220;carrying capacityand#8221; as it applies to numbers of people, even though this concept has been applied worldwide for many years relative to humans as well as animals. As it would apply to Tahoe the concept is this: and#8220;People equal pollution; every time you add a person to the Basin, more pollution will be the result.and#8221;
Until TRPA recognizes this, and determines how many people the Basin and Lake can tolerate before the degradation becomes irreversible, regardless of the application of pollution control measures, it does not have a chance of meeting its legal responsibilities.
Although TRPA has had some successes over the years, its present priorities to create economic growth will result inevitably in an environmental and#8220;freefalland#8221;.
Tahoe deserves better than that.