Kiley's Corner: Western Caucus to Visit Beautiful Lake Tahoe

By Rep. Kevin Kiley (CA-03)

This piece was originally published in the Mountain Democrat.

Lake Tahoe has been a national treasure for over two centuries. For over 50 years presidents, governors, senators and representatives from both parties have worked in a bipartisan manner to protect the natural beauty and wonder of the lake. 

The Congressional Western Caucus is a bipartisan group of more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are committed to advocating for western and rural America on Capitol Hill. As a Western Caucus member, I’m honored to announce that I will be hosting a conference for Western Caucus members to tour the region and see firsthand the beauty and challenges we face. This multi-day seminar will include tours of the lake, briefings by the U.S. Forest Service and fire officials and seminars on insurance costs.

It’s an important opportunity for me to bring first-hand knowledge to members of Congress from across the country and to raise awareness of the importance of federal programs like the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. 

Time and again and year after year, we face wildfires, flooding, mudslides, invasive species and so much more. For California’s natural resources and great treasures such as Lake Tahoe, it is critical we preserve this area not just for ourselves, but for generations to come. 

Last year, at the bipartisan Lake Tahoe Summit, I announced that I am co-sponsoring the Lake Tahoe Restoration Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes $415 million in funding through Sept. 30, 2034, to reduce the threat of wildfire, combat invasive species, improve water clarity and restore the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin. 

Additionally, the Lake Tahoe Restoration Reauthorization Act provides funding for projects that support forest health, water for fire infrastructure, watershed restoration, water quality, aquatic invasive species control, Lahontan cutthroat trout recovery and accountability. Since the act’s passage in 2016, Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program partners have implemented hundreds of projects, leveraged the federal investment 5-to-1 with state, local and private funding and supported 1,700 jobs per year. 

Since the previous reauthorization 20 years ago, funds have gone to more than 700 projects in the Tahoe Basin and Lake Tahoe’s waters are the clearest they’ve been since the ’80s. But we can do more to preserve our region.

Over the course of two days, the Western Caucus will travel around the basin to see the impacts of wildfires up close and show how a categorical exclusion saved South Lake Tahoe from the Caldor Fire. We will meet with local stakeholders who will impress upon members of Congress from across the country the importance of maintaining Lake Tahoe’s clean water for the surrounding environment and community. 

I’ve visited Lake Tahoe many times since I was a child and representing this area in Congress is one of the great honors of my life. I remain committed to continuing the long history of bipartisan leadership that has preserved and protected this special place. It’s up to all of us to ensure that we protect this treasure for future generations.

Congressman Kevin Kiley represents California’s 3rd District in the House of Representatives.

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