January 14, 2009
AMADOR COUNTY, CA - Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians won a decisive victory in federal district court last week when Judge Richard W. Roberts dismissed a lawsuit brought by Amador County to block its planned casino outside Ione, California. The ruling was a blow to opponents of a second casino in Amador County. The existing casino is Jackson Rancheria Casino and Hotel on Highway 49. There is also a third casino being pursued by the Ione Band of Miwok Indians that would be located near Plymouth.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in April 2005 against the U.S. Department of the Interior for is approval process of the gaming compact between the state of California and Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. The Interior Secretary Kempthome did not sign off on the compact when it was submitted to him in 2004. Under federal law, the compact is considered approved if the Secretary takes no action within 45 days.
Judge Roberts wrote in his decision: "While Amador County has standing, it has nonetheless failed to state a claim entitling it to relief under the APA because of the Secretary's choice to take no action on the amended compact is unreviewable and the Secretary's deemed approval is lawful by the express terms of IGRA. Thus, the defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted."
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