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October 24, 2014

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Al Gore to speak at Tahoe Summit

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Steve Marcus

(FOR ARCHIVE) Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks during the SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May, 9, 2012. SALT brings together public policy officials, capital allocators, and hedge fund managers to discuss financial markets.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that former Vice President Al Gore will be attending this year’s Lake Tahoe Summit, planned for Aug. 19 at the Sand Harbor State Park.

Since leaving the White House and losing his run for the presidency, Gore has made environmental conservation and promotion his key focus — he is perhaps best known as the voice and force behind the 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Gore has been a part of the Lake Tahoe Summit since its inception in 1997.

“It would not have happened without the vision of Al Gore,” Reid said Monday, recalling how he and then-president Bill Clinton determined to hold a presidential summit there, making Tahoe the focus of a global conversation about water and nature conservation.

Presidents have not attended in each of the 17 years since. The annual summit, however, attracts many public officials from the federal government, California and Nevada. This year, California Gov. Jerry Brown will be in attendance, Reid said. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had not yet RSVP’d.

The theme for this year’s summit will be “A Clean Lake Legacy: Preserving Lake Tahoe for Future Generations.”

The original Tahoe summit in 1997 helped build support for a $300 million federal initiative to support conservation at Tahoe. The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act also ensured that a portion of the money collected through the sale of public lands in Southern Nevada would be committed to Tahoe restoration projects.

The projects were responsible for restoring much of the splendor to Lake Tahoe’s picturesque landscape. But the bulk of the money has been spent, and Reid admitted that the funds are not flowing quite as freely as it used to.

“There was recently a federal lands sale in southern Nevada and I think it raised 20 some odd million dollars, so things are starting to come back in southern Nevada,” Reid said.

Reid added that the money available to spend on Tahoe “won’t be the huge amount. … It may not be that for a long while.”

But the summit will come on the heels of significant state legislation.

In June, the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill to renew the state’s decades-long agreement with California to preserve the environment around Lake Tahoe – effectively silencing a 2011 law that would have required the Silver State to bow out of the deal without certain changes to the governance structure.

Reid said Monday that he thought that 2011 law was “wrong, but maybe it was okay” – in an all’s well that ends well sense — because Brown and Sandoval “worked things out.”

“What happened in the state Legislature this past legislative session, really I was proud of everybody,” Reid said Monday.

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