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Federal Judge Halts New Pier and Boat Facility Development on Lake Tahoe

Victory: Construction would imperil water and air quality, non-motorized recreation, and public shoreline access
September 18, 2009
Sacramento, CA —

A federal district court judge today issued an injunction halting construction of new piers, boat ramps and other boat facilities, and placement of new buoys along the Lake Tahoe shoreline.

Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento granted the request by two environmental groups while arguments are heard in their lawsuit against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency regarding new shoreline construction. The League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Club were represented by Earthjustice.

In November 2008, the groups filed suit against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to force a proper environmental review of the agency's shoreline development plan. The plan would allow building 138 new piers and other boat facilities, resulting in more than 62,000 additional boat trips each year on the lake. The construction and additional traffic would imperil water and air quality, non-motorized boaters, and public shoreline access.

Developers of boating facilities will still be allowed to file permits for new projects under the terms of the injunction, but no actual construction or placement of new boating facilities will be allowed in Lake Tahoe until the lawsuit is resolved. Any permits granted in the meantime are conditional on the outcome of the suit, and may be revoked or modified by the court without compensation to the permittee.  

"This is a victory for Lake Tahoe, and for everyone who appreciates the irreplaceable, crystal-clear waters and magnificent beauty of one of the world's most popular alpine lakes," said Earthjustice attorney Wendy Park. "This ruling ensures that we carefully look before we leap into additional, and potentially damaging, development of the Lake Tahoe shoreline." 


Wendy Park or Trent Orr, Earthjustice, (510) 550-6725