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Butte County will Sue to Block Mechoopda Casino

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March 28, 2008

OROVILLE - Last week the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to file suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to block plans of the Chico Rancheria Mechoopda Indians to build a casino near the intersection of Highways 99 and 149. The tribe wants to build their casino and entertainment facility on 645 acres of land on the north side of Highway 149 about two miles from the intersection with 99.

A press release issued by Butte County's chief administrative officer, C. Brian Haddix, stated: "Butte County reluctantly files this litigation. Unfortunately, the developer Station Casinos, Inc., a large Las Vegas-based gaming consortium, has refused to work with the county to resolve the dispute over the location of the proposed casino. As a result, the county has no recourse other than this litigation."

The statement also said the county remains willing to work with the tribe to find a more suitable site. A spokesman for the tribe, Doug Elmets, responded "The reality is the tribe has spent years and millions of dollars doing exhaustive environmental studies and is intent on mitigating any negative impacts." He said the proposed site has been federally recognized as being "aboriginally connected to the tribe," and there is no other alternative site that could currently meet that requirement.

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