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January 29, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO – A lawsuit to block construction of a huge Indian casino resort at Richmond's Point Molate was filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court this week by two environmental groups.

The suit was filed by attorney Stephan Volker on behalf of the Citizens for Eastshore State Park and the Sustainability, Parks, Recycling and Wildlife Legal Defense Fund (SPRAWLDEF). It is filed against the City of Richmond, the City Council, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the Guidiville Rancheria Band of Pomos, who would own the land as a reservation, and the Rumsey Band of Wintuns, who own Cache Creek Casino and will bankroll this $1.5 billion project.

Point Molate was a U.S. Navy refueling station on the east bay shoreline near the foot of the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge. The City of Richmond bought it for $1 under the federal Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1988. When the Navy completes its cleanup of the site, the city will deed the land over to the Guidiville Rancheria Band of Pomos.

The Guidiville Rancheria Band of Pomos have applied the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to grant the Point Molate land into federal trust as a reservation. That would allow the tribe to proceed with their plans for two million square feet casino resort complex which would include a luxury hotel, an upscale shopping center, private cottages, condos for tribal members, and a biofueled ferry service. The gaming facility would be in the restored Winehaven building, which was once the largest winery in California.

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