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CELPC Presents: Bill Yeates, Chair of the TRPA Governing Board

Wednesday November 4, 2020

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


Bill Yeates, Chair of the TRPA Governing Board

Protecting Lake Tahoe: The View from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

The Lake Tahoe watershed crosses two state and numerous local political boundaries. Thus, the TRPA Governing Board is comprised of 15-members—seven from California, seven from Nevada and one non-voting Presidential Appointee.

I arrived in California from Michigan in 1975 to attend law school at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA.  As soon as I got settled one of the first places I wanted to see was Lake Tahoe.  I had spent my childhood summers visiting with my grandparents in Jackson, Wyoming.  My late mother’s summer home was on the JY Ranch; and, Phelps Lake on the JY at the base of Death Canyon in the Grand Tetons was one of her favorite memories.  During this period of time in my mother’s childhood my grandfather was working to expand the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park.  Because of this personal heritage, I have an affinity for crystal clear alpine lakes.  The Sierra’s Lake Tahoe was a natural draw.

In March 2013 I applied to the California Senate Rules Committee to be a Governing Board Member of TRPA, because I felt my personal environmental perspective; experience working for the California Coastal Commission; and, more recently, working with diverse interests groups during the passage of Senate Bill 375 (CA Sustainable Communities Program) was a nice fit.  I worked for the Coastal Commission during a particularly challenging time as the Commission was mandated to work with local coastal communities to prepare local coastal programs that when approved by the Commission returned land use authority within the coastal zone to the local agencies with Commission oversight.  This shared approach to protecting the public’s interest in California’s coast is similar to the area plan approval process within the recently adopted 2012 Regional Plan for Lake Tahoe.

I hope that I can contribute to the environmental sustainability of Lake Tahoe by approving area plans that when implemented achieve the environmental thresholds for protecting Lake Tahoe.  I also believe that TRPA can implement the 2012 Regional Plan in a way that provides for sustainable communities that meet the economic and social needs of the people that live and work in the Tahoe Basin.  It will be a challenge, but a challenge worth taking on.

For more information, please contact Nina Marie Bell at