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Rohnert Park Indian Casino draws lawsuit

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June 11, 2008

ROHNERT PARK, CA - A lawsuit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in an attempt to stop plans by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to build a casino in Rohnert Park. The tribe is not named in the lawsuit.

The filing challenges the recent decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take the land for the proposed casino into federak trust for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The suit cites constitutional issues. If successful, it would prevent the land from being taken into trust, which is an essential step in the federal process of legalizing new Indian casinos.

Mr. Stephan Volker, who filed the lawsuit, said "The Bureau of Indian Affairs jumped the gun by attempting to transfer title to this poorly planned site even before completing the environmental impact statement. Operating a casino at this site poses huge environmental impacts, including massive traffic congestion on Highway 101 and over-pumping of local wells. …The BIA has thumbed its nose at the public by attempting to end-run the laws that protect the public from needless environmental harm."

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