California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and other notable elected officials discussed centerpiece topics of wildfire and climate change at the 23rd annual Lake Tahoe Summit.
Feinstein spoke about the tandem work of Nevada and California since the inaugural summit in 1997, dubbing the now public-private partnership as “Team Tahoe.” She pointed out that over $2 billion has been dedicated to projects in the basin, including the recently completed Tahoe East Shore Trail.
Also shared among the speakers was the current reality of threats to Lake Tahoe.
“This notion of climate change being a dominant theme at this conference I think is damn self-evident,” Newsom said. “The hots are getting hotter, the wets are getting wetter, the dries are getting drier. Mother Nature, with all due respect, she [was] absent a decade ago, but she is very, very present today in the conversation.”
California Rep. Tom McClintock linked his climate change thoughts directly with wildfire, noting that a fire in Tahoe similar to the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise “would mean the utter destruction of all of Tahoe’s communities.”
“Those who blame global warming should consider this, before the U.S. Forest Service was created to actively manage our lands, California lost between 4 and a half and 12 million acres to wildfire every year,” McClintock said. “When the forest service actively managed the land, that figure dropped to a very steady quarter of a million acres. Last year we lost 1.9 million acres. That’s not the new normal. That’s the old normal reasserting itself because we have abandoned our forests to neglect.”
He finished, sharing that after years of moving closer toward “apocalypse,” Tahoe can finally start moving away.
Other speakers included Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, California Rep. John Garamendi, and deputy regional forester USDA Forest Service deputy regional forester Barnie Gyant.
Main image caption: HOT TOPICS, IMPORTANT PEOPLE: California and Nevada elected officials discussed the importance of protecting Lake Tahoe’s clarity, specifically against climate change and wildfire. Pictured from left to right, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, and California Congressman John Garamendi. Photo by Alex Hoeft/Moonshine Ink