Padilla Hosts 27th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, Calls for Sustainable Solutions to Combat Climate Crisis
WATCH: Senator Padilla delivers remarks at the 27th annual Lake Tahoe Summit
KINGS BEACH, CA — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, hosted the 27th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, convening a bipartisan, bi-state coalition of local, state, federal, Tribal, and environmental leaders at Kings Beach State Recreation Area in California. This year’s summit, “Protecting Lake Tahoe: Sustainability and Stewardship in the Face of the Climate Crisis,” examined challenges that surrounding communities face from climate change and increasingly unpredictable weather, highlighted the progress made to restore the Tahoe Basin through the Environmental Improvement Program, and outlined new ways to preserve and protect Lake Tahoe in the years to come.
Senator Padilla and his colleagues emphasized the urgent need to extend the authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act through 2034 to prevent an interruption in conservation and restoration planning for the lake and the surrounding basin. Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi delivered the keynote address. The summit also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
“From the embers of the Caldor Fire to the snowpack from historic winter storms, Lake Tahoe knows personally the extraordinary weather whiplash that can tear through our state, all made worse by the climate crisis,” said Senator Padilla. “I am proud of the work the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program is doing to protect the Tahoe Basin, set the standard for interstate environmental restoration, and draw hundreds of millions of dollars to the region. I look forward to passing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Reauthorization Act and continuing to advocate for policies that renew America’s commitment to protecting our planet for our children’s generation and beyond.”
“On the magnificent shores of Lake Tahoe, the Golden State and the Silver State, Democrats and Republicans, public, private and nonprofit sectors all come together as one Team Tahoe,” said Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. “Nearly three decades ago, we launched an ambitious and effective initiative to restore and preserve this national treasure. Together, Team Tahoe will continue fighting to ensure that the Jewel of the Sierra can be enjoyed by all for generations to come.”
“Lake Tahoe is a critical part of our region’s environment and our state’s economic success,” said Senator Rosen. “With the heightened effects of the climate crisis impacting Lake Tahoe, it’s critical that we keep working to protect this natural wonder now more than ever. I was glad to be a part of this important discussion and I remain committed to taking bipartisan action to preserve this magnificent national treasure.”
“Lake Tahoe is a national treasure, and I was proud to join leaders from across the basin to talk about our work to protect it,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “With climate change fueling wildfires and invasive species threatening the Lake, it will take all of us to keep Tahoe safe. I’ll always stand up for this community and the local economies it supports.”
“The Tahoe Summit is an opportunity to celebrate the partnerships that are building forest resiliency, adapting to a changing climate, and achieving sustainable recreation across larger landscapes. The 2016 Lake Tahoe Restoration Act has been key to the success by enabling us to work with our partners to reduce risk to homes from wildfire, sustain livelihoods, and maintain renowned clear blue lake clarity,” said U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien.
“Today really highlighted the tremendous amount of people, work and funding required to protect a place as special as Lake Tahoe. We are so grateful to our federal and state leaders for joining our local communities, governments and non-profits in our tireless efforts to maintain the Lake’s clarity, restore our forests to health, and ensure Tahoe remains a place for all to enjoy for generations to come,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency President/Placer Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.
Senator Padilla has been a key champion for Lake Tahoe in the U.S. Senate. He recently introduced bi-state, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act through 2034. In 2021, Padilla led the 25th Annual Tahoe Summit and launched the first virtual exhibit to highlight the pioneering conservation work of the Lake Tahoe Summit. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Padilla also secured provisions in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to authorize U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works and ecosystem restoration activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin, including the planning, design, and construction of urban stormwater treatment facilities, watershed science, and environmental restoration.
Senator Padilla supported $7 million in critical funding for fire suppression water infrastructure in the Tahoe Basin through the FY22 appropriations package, made even more essential by the recent Caldor Fire. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $3.4 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Padilla voted to pass last year. These new cooperative agreements with the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will help combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe.