Environmentalists Seek Halt to Tahoe Shore Rules

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - Two environmental groups have
filed a motion in federal court seeking to halt regulations allowing new buoys, piers and boat ramps around Lake Tahoe.

In the motion filed July 2 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Area Sierra Club Group
asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent the new ordinances from being implemented until the court decides whether they were lawfully approved.

In November, the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the shorezone regulations passed by the two-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's governing board in October.

Wendy Park, an Earthjustice attorney who represents the two groups, said they thought an injunction was necessary when TRPA began the permitting process for five new piers.

"While the challenge to the shorezone plan is before the court, (TRPA) should not be moving forward with any new projects included in that plan," Park said.

The two groups contend the new ordinances lacked adequate environmental review and will push the planning agency further away
from reaching its legally mandated environmental goals.

"This is no time to be adding more buoys and piers and ramps along the shore of the lake," said Rochelle Nason, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. "Tahoe is still very much in jeopardy of losing its famed clarity."

TRPA spokesman Jeff Cowen defended the adequacy of the environmental review of the shorezone amendments. He says they
would allow the agency to make headway toward reaching its environmental goals.

Cowen said the injunction request appears to be a move by the environmental groups to promote a "no new development" stance in
the shorezone, something that the agency has determined isn't legally defensible.

The environmental groups also claim the regulations will mean more boats on Tahoe and will increase the threat of nonnative quagga mussels getting into the lake. Experts fear the mollusks could forever alter Tahoe's sensitive ecosystem.

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