VIDEO: Padilla Leads 25th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, ‘Celebrating 25 Years and Looking Ahead to the Next Generation of Lake Tahoe’

TAHOE, CALIFORNIA –As California experiences yet another summer of record-breaking fires and drought, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) stressed the need for urgent climate action as he led the 25th annual Lake Tahoe Summit. A video of the full program, including the Senator’s remarks, can be found here.

The Lake Tahoe Summit brings together public officials from California and Nevada, dozens of government agencies, and community and tribal partners, working together to support conservation efforts at Lake Tahoe. As the host of this year’s summit, Senator Padilla called for a bold renewal of environmental protection efforts at Tahoe as well as ambitious national action to combat the climate crisis. The Lake Tahoe Summit featured a keynote address by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a testament to the national significance of the Summit and the strong partnership of the Biden Administration. In her remarks, Secretary Haaland highlighted the importance of building local and national partnerships to protect the environment.

Senator Padilla and Senator Feinstein also launched a virtual exhibit to highlight the pioneering conservation work of the Lake Tahoe Summit. The exhibit was produced in collaboration with the California State Archives, Google Arts & Culture, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada State Library, and the Tahoe Fund. The virtual exhibit can be found on the California State Archives website and provides a comprehensive look at the 25 year history of this summit that has brought together elected officials, policy makers, federal agencies, the private sector, and local community leaders to collaboratively address environmental problems facing the Tahoe basin.

Key excerpts from Senator Padilla’s remarks:

  • It is sobering to open our summit with visible smoke in the air—a sign of just how urgent our mission to protect Tahoe must be.
  • Just ten days ago, the IPCC, the world’s top body of climate scientists, released a report warning that we are on a catastrophic course. We need to commit to immediate action to end our use of fossil fuels and protect the planet.
  • […] it is no surprise that Tahoe has inspired one of the nation’s most successful conservation coalitions, made up of dozens of public agencies, Tribal governments and members, businesses, and university partners. This joint effort has set the standard for interstate environmental improvement and drawn hundreds of millions of dollars to the region.
  • Over the last 25 years, Lake Tahoe’s Environmental Impact Program has inspected more than 94 thousand boats to stop invasive species. We’ve improved more than a thousand miles of roadway and trails, to reduce pollution, stop erosion, and increase sustainable recreation. And we’ve treated more than 87 thousand acres of forest in an effort to prevent wildfires. 
  • We need to prepare for the intensifying, year-round threat of climate change, which has altered weather patterns and sparked multiple devastating forest fires. 
  • […] we must equally prioritize equity as we protect our natural treasures.Too many children, especially in communities of color, grow up without access to green spaces and natural wonders like Tahoe. We need to make sure that all families can experience the beauty of our public lands. We also need to involve and elevate the voices of tribal members in the decisions and projects we take on.
  • […] protecting Tahoe in isolation is impossible. The smoke in the air around us is all the evidence you need. Temperatures are rising in Lake Tahoe because temperatures are rising across the region and around the world. Fires burn in these forests because states across the West have faced year after year of historic drought. In order to protect Lake Tahoe, we must meet the threat of climate change at a global scale.
  • That’s why I’m pushing for bold action at the federal level to end our dependence on fossil fuels and invest in sustainable infrastructure, from our electrical grid to our public and private transportation systems. We can’t waste this moment of opportunity. 

Senator Padilla is a cosponsor of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Reauthorization Act. He also voted to pass the Senate’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $17 million for aquatic invasive species management in Lake Tahoe.

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