Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (or TRPA) was formed in 1969 through a bi-state compact between California and Nevada which was ratified by the U.S. Congress. The agency is mandated to protect the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin through land-use regulations and is one of only a few watershed-based regulatory agencies in the United States.
TRPA and its mission are one-of-a-kind and represent an unprecedented attempt to address environmental, economic and cultural values at both regional and local levels. The Agency is the lead organization responsible for creating and implementing region-wide solutions to protection. The Agency is a symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship and provides a legal means to govern the region. TRPA is recognized throughout the world for what it contributes to the science of resource protection. Much of the effort put forth is ground breaking and the problems addressed have no textbook remedies. This is in part what makes the Agency a lightning rod attracting a wide range of opinions and emotions.
The TRPA has adopted a three-pronged strategy to restore the environment of Lake Tahoe:
- Implement a regulatory program minimizing the negative impacts of new development.
- Improve the environment through a $1.5 billion capital improvement program repairing damage caused by past development.
- Scientifically research the effectiveness of the regulatory and capital improvement programs.
The regulatory program has been in place for more than 35 years and is re-evaluated every 5 years. While regulation is one of the pillars of the TRPA’s plan, the agency also emphasizes the capital investment and scientific research components of its strategy which are embodied in the Environmental Improvement Program (EIP).
TRPA is primarily an environmental agency, but recognizes the interdependency of environmental, economic and social well being in the Tahoe Region. Environmental groups, property rights advocates, business interests and numerous government agencies agree that tourism and successful, locally-owned businesses are the key to economic vitality at Lake Tahoe and are dependent upon the attractiveness of the region’s environment. The TRPA Regional Plan allows for a measured rate of residential, commercial and recreational growth, the impacts of which are controlled through mitigation measures.
On June 7, 2011, the Nevada Legislature voted to pull out of the TRPA by 2015. The Governor of Nevada is expected to sign the bill.
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