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Environmental groups sue to stop new Lake Tahoe facilities

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California last week by a coalition of environmental groups challenges the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for adopting new land-use regulations without thorough consideration of environmental and public access impacts, according to the suit.

The new regulations would increase motorized boating, “adding more than 62,000 boat trips to current annual boat traffic — increasing noise, water and air pollution; limiting public access; diminishing the scenic quality of the lake; and increasing the threat of introducing such invasive species as the quagga mussel,” according to a statement by Earthjustice.

The Shorezone Ordinance Amendments were adopted Oct. 22 and would allow construction of 138 new piers — most of them private — an additional 1,862 mooring buoys, six new boat ramps, and 235 slips.

The new ordinances are scheduled to take effect Dec. 22. Application processing is scheduled to begin Jan. 3, according to the TRPA.

“While more opportunities are available for lakefront property owners under the new ordinances, these opportunities also come with new responsibilities and requirements designed to enhance stewardship of one of the world’s most famous, pristine and protected lakes,” the TRPA said on its Web site.

Environmental groups, however, disagree.

"The Shorezone Ordinance Amendment allows an unprecedented level of development along the shoreline and dramatically increases motorized boat traffic at Lake Tahoe," said Carl Young, of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. "The ordinance fails to remediate for the detrimental water pollution impacts on Lake Tahoe's famously clear waters."

To read a copy of the suit, click here.

To read more about the shore-zone plan, click here.

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