May 10, 2008
ROHNERT PARK, CA - The U.S. Interior Department will take 254 acres of land neighboring Rohnert Park into federal trust for the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria allowing the tribe to pursue their plans for a $450 million mega-casino. The planned 760,000-square-foot project includes a 300-room hotel.
The government's decision was published in the Federal Register and becomes final after a 30-day judicial review. This is a major step toward a Las Vegas-style casino off Highway 101 in Sonoma County.
The next three steps towards final approval are:
However, Marilee Montgomery of the Stop the Casino 101 Coalition, said the group planned court fights that could hold up the project for years,. They will challenge to the federal government's right to take the land in trust, because it did not follow the guidelines of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Instead, the tribal land was authorized by the Graton Rancheria Restoration Act of 2000, which was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The legislation says the government "shall accept into trust for the benefit of the tribe any real property located in Marin or Sonoma County." This makes an exception to the requirement for ancestral ties to the land.
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