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Judge halts Richmond Indian Casino

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August 27, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Contra Costa County Judge Barbara Zuniga said last week that the city of Richmond violated state laws by not conducting a complete environmental review before signing an agreement with the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians to build a Las Vegas-style casino in unincorporated North Richmond.

The lawsuit was brought by local residents and environmentalist groups. Richmond City Council members said they will either file an appeal or complete an environmental report.

The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians want to build $335 million, 225,000-square-foot casino complex on 30 acres they own at Richmond Parkway and Parr Boulevard. They have applied to the U.S. Department of Interior for approval to build the "off-reservation" casino claiming that half their tribal members live within 50 mile of Richmond. A key decision is expected soon by the federal government as to whether the casino site qualifies as "restored land".

Federal policy requires local support and mitigation of environmental impacts, so Judge Zuniga's ruling will force a delay or even disapproval it is not resolved in appeals court.

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