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Point Molate Indian casino up for debate

August 11, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - The Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians is about to take an important next step in its dream to build a $1 billion Indian casino at Point Molate in Richmond.

The plans for the 85-acre site include a 124,000-square-foot casino, two hotels, retail shops, restaurants, parks and trails, and 300 homes for tribal members.

The 5,284-page environmental impact report (EIR) for the project was released last month and the two public hearings on its findings are scheduled this month. The first begins tomorrow August 10th at 6 p.m. at Richmond Municipal Auditorium, 725 Civic Center Plaza. The second is August 27th at the same time and place. The draft report can be viewed or downloaded at http://www.pointmolateeis-eir.com.

Polls show the majority of residents and the Richmond City Council support the plan. The major opposition to the plan is a group called Citizens to Save Point Molate. They have reported received financial backing from East Bay card clubs that do not want to compete with a high-end casino. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a Green Party member, and Councilman Jeff Ritterman both oppose it as well as the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

If the project is approved by local and state governments, the tribe still needs the U.S. Department of Interior to agree to place the site into federal trust as "restored Indian lands." The environmental impact report and these hearings are part of that decision making process.

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