Appeal to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Filed December 1, 2021

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For over a year, BBILAN attorneys have been supporting local and national grassroots organizations and individual residents who are demanding that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) uphold its public trust to protect and preserve Tahoe Lake and Region, recognized by Congress as a national treasure. The litigation, currently before the federal court for the Eastern District, will set landmark precedents on the following questions:

  • Can an Interstate Compact, an agency established by Congress, ignore its own Public Trust Charter and federal law that require it to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for major actions that will degrade irreversibly the living environment of the entire Tahoe Region? The focus of controversy is a “Connected Tahoe Wireless Plan,” that envisions blanketing Tahoe with small-cell and macro towers, autonomous vehicles, and other wireless infrastructure. The precedential legal question is whether the wireless telecoms, with the compliant approval of the TRPA, should be permitted to avoid their legal responsibilities by segmenting and piecemealing their overall Plan, which was conceived and implemented without public disclosure or review. Piecemealing is a standard tactic which the courts and environmental agencies have strongly discouraged.
  • Must the TRPA comply with federal and state environmental laws when permitting a specific 112-foot monopine macro tower that presents significant risks of fire (Tahoe is just now recovering from the devastating Caldor fire) and discharges of toxic materials into the Lake—especially when TRPA is currently permitting hundreds of similar monopine and other cell towers throughout the Tahoe Region.
  • Must TRPA comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, the Interstate Compact, California and Nevada law, and recent federal court decisions when issuing arbitrary and capricious rulings? In this case, on October 14, 2021, a TRPA Hearings Officer upheld the 112-foot monopine permit application with a prepared conclusory statement, evidencing no consideration whatsoever of 4,000 pages of documentary evidence of environmental harms submitted by plaintiffs.
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