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March 13, 2008

More than 500 people attended the public hearing of the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the environmental impact of a proposed Indian casino in Madera County. Supporters and opponents expressed their opinions to the federal agency that is processing an application from the North Fork Mono Tribe to build a 500,000-square-foot mega casino on Highway 99 south of Avenue 18.

"The site is in a rural area within the Tribe's historic land, and was especially chosen because it was not near schools, homes or churches," said Elaine Bethel Fink, a member of the North Fork Mono Rancheria.

However local opponents fear the traffic congestion and air pollution the casino will create.

Additional comments can be submitted in writing to the Bureau of Indian Affairs until the end of this month.

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