Congress is moving closer to spending hundreds of millions of dollars to further restore and protect Lake Tahoe, just two weeks after President Obama made his first visit and delivered an impassioned plea about the inseparable link between its economy and environment.
With a 95-3 vote Thursday, the Senate approved a measure that calls for spending $10 billion on water quality projects nationwide over the next decade, including $415 million for the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The measure now goes to the House.
"This legislation is critical to continue our progress in restoring and conserving Lake Tahoe's environment for future generations," said Joanne Marchetta, executive director of the bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which oversees the lake that straddles the Nevada-California line atop the Sierra Nevada.
Since President Bill Clinton signed the initial act into law in 2000, nearly $2 billion has been spent on projects at the lake by private entities, along with the federal, state and local governments. The measure, which expired in 2009, authorized $300 million in federal money.
Clinton attended the first Tahoe Summit at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 1997. Obama accepted a similar invitation to speak at the 20th annual summit on Aug. 31.