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March 31, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal decision appears close for the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians to build a Las Vegas-style casino in unincorporated North Richmond. The tribe wants to build a 225,000-square-foot casino complex on 30 acres it owns at Richmond Parkway and Parr Boulevard.

On Friday the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced their plans to file a final environmental impact statement on the casino plan. The BIA's announcement in the Federal Register follows several previous public hearings and a two-month period for public comments. There will now be another 30 days for the public reaction to the lengthy study, which is available for review at the Richmond Public Library in Civic Center Plaza, or at the Contra Costa County Library at 2300 El Portal Drive, Suite D in San Pablo.

Soon after the 30 day period, the federal government is expected to make a key decision on whether the North Richmond site qualifies as "restored land" for the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The tribe must show historical and modern ties to the land. They claims that half their tribal members live within 50 miles of the Richmond Parkway land, and that their historic Pomo villages and trails were near the East Bay shoreline.

If approved by the feds, the next step will be for the governor to negotiate in good faith for a gaming compact with the Scotts Valley Band.

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