Political Environment:

The Problem of a Lack of Public Awareness about the Proposal for the Facility

and the Role of Friends of Lake Tahoe as the Solution to this Problem

 

In addition to general misperceptions of current practices in the Basin dealing with the need for biomass processing to create biomass fuel at Cabin Creek, the nature of forest waste removal and fuel reduction, the requisite need for some open burning that will not change, and the connection of wildfires with each of these, there is also the problem of a simple lack of awareness on the behalf of the public about the biomass related topics altogether. And, Placer County has manipulated this phenomenon quite well. Essentially, this lack of public awareness contributes to both a lack of support and a lack of opposition to the project.

 

Excluding those who work for the sponsoring agencies and are therefore precluded from being in opposition, and those who believe or know that they will materially benefit personally from their support of this endeavor as allies of TRPA and Placer, it is difficult to find authentic support. The groups that Placer identifies as partners and supporters, for the most part, as the reader already knows, are contrived. True friends of Lake Tahoe would never support biomass burning anywhere in the Basin. The fact is that Placer County and TRPA have been very successful in keeping this issue quiet and therefore most people, including those who reside at Tahoe, are mostly ignorant of the project. Non-resident property owners know even less.

 

The absence of support, however, does not connote opposition. Therefore, in order to have the large scale opposition to the facility necessary to halt the plant, it must be created. Ending the ignorance (lack of awareness) on the behalf of those who are not residents, and who simultaneously hold the potential for enormous political power and influence, is central to stopping this project.

 

The locals, few in number, and hindered with provincial geographical attitudes, regardless of how well intended and fiercely devoted to the cause as they might be, will not be able to do it on their own. They need the support not only of non-resident Tahoe property owners, but also from Americans all across the nation. Lake Tahoe has been designated by Congress as a National Treasure to be enjoyed by all Americans!

 

And, while the North Tahoe Sierra Club and League to Save Lake Tahoe are sterling examples of environmental organizations dedicated to preserving the Basin holistically, many believe that, because they are membership based, they are not well equipped to launch a broadly based public political movement designed to mobilize EVERYONE (the public at large) in the Basin. While they can mobilize their membership and can be effective political allies, they are not institutionally set up to shape public opinion and mass political action on a scale large enough to promote a no vote against Placer County objectives in TRPA. Outside of filing comments about what the EIS/EIR should address and expressing serious conceptual and relevant scientific concerns, they have taken no additional political action. And, while there are organizations at Tahoe that do possess a political activist quality, they are, as explained, too localized and disconnected from each other to be able to band together to provide a unified front in opposition to Placers plans for the plant. But, most importantly, none of them has ever sought to tap the most powerful political and financial force available in the Basin: The non-resident (absentee) home owners all around the lake.

 

Recognizing this political fact, Friends of Lake Tahoe was created to fill this vast vacuum of political power. FRIENDS OF LAKE TAHOE IS NOW THE VOICE OF THE NON-RESIDENT PROPERTY OWNER REGARDLESS OF WHERE IN THE BASIN THEIR PROPERTY MAY BE LOCATED. And, it is also the voice of Americans and the citizens of the world who oppose the Biomass Plant regardless of where they may reside.