March 9, 2007

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and a Draft Conformity Determination for the proposed Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria Casino and Hotel Project, Sonoma, CA

SUMMARY: In accordance with Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., the NIGC, in cooperation with the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria (the ``Graton Rancheria''), has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a proposed casino and hotel project/action to be located in Sonoma, California. The purpose of the proposed project/action is to help address the socio-economic needs of the Graton Rancheria.
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[Federal Register: March 9, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 46)]
[Notices]               
[Page 10790-10792]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09mr07-130]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Indian Gaming Commission

 
Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
and a Draft Conformity Determination for the proposed Federated Indians 
of the Graton Rancheria Casino and Hotel Project, Sonoma, CA

AGENCY: National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability (NOA).

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SUMMARY: In accordance with Section 102(2)(C) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., the NIGC, in 
cooperation with the Federated Indians of the Graton

[[Page 10791]]

Rancheria (the ``Graton Rancheria''), has prepared a Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a proposed casino and hotel 
project/action to be located in Sonoma, California. The purpose of the 
proposed project/action is to help address the socio-economic needs of 
the Graton Rancheria. The DEIS documents the existing condition of 
environmental resources in and around the areas considered for 
development and the potential impacts on those resources as a result of 
implementing each of the alternatives. The alternatives considered in 
detail are: a casino/hotel project on the ``Wilfred Site'' (the 
proposed project/action), a casino/hotel project on the ``Stony Point 
Site,'' a casino/hotel project on the ``Lakeville Site,'' a reduced 
intensity casino/hotel project on the ``Stony Point'' site, an 
alternate use project on the ``Stony Point'' site, and a no proposed 
project/action alternative.
    In accordance with Section 176 of the Clean Air Act 42 U.S.C. 7506, 
and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) general conformity 
regulations 40 CFR Part 93, Subpart B, a Draft Conformity Determination 
(DCD) has been prepared for the proposed project. The DCD is contained 
within Appendix W of the DEIS.

DATES: A public information workshop will be held at the Spreckels 
Performing Arts Center, Nellie W. Codding Theatre, 5409 Snyder Lane, 
Rohnert Park, CA 94928 on April 4, 2007 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Following 
the public information workshop, the NIGC will hold a public hearing 
from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (or until all comments have been recorded) to 
provide the public an opportunity to comment on the DEIS and/or the 
DCD. A second public information workshop will be held at the Wells 
Fargo Center for the Arts (formerly the Luther Burbank Center), Ruth 
Finley Person Theatre, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 
on April 5, 2007 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Following the public information 
workshop, the NIGC will hold a public hearing from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. 
(or until all comments have been recorded) to provide the public an 
opportunity to comment on the DEIS and/or the DCD. The NIGC will also 
be accepting written comments. Written comments on the DEIS and/or the 
DCD must be postmarked by May 14, 2007, and sent to the addressed 
listed below.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the DEIS and/or the DCD should be 
addressed to: Brad Mehaffy, NEPA Compliance Officer, National Indian 
Gaming Commission, 1441 L Street, NW., Suite 9100 Washington DC 20005 
(or) fax to: Brad Mehaffy at 202-632-7066 (or) e-mailed to: 
graton_eis@nigc.gov.

    Please include your name, return address, and the caption: ``DEIS 
Comments, Graton Rancheria Casino and Hotel Project'', on the first 
page of your written comments. The public information workshops and 
public hearings will be hosted by the NIGC at the Spreckels Performing 
Arts Center, Nellie W. Codding Theatre, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park, 
CA 94928 and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts (formerly the Luther 
Burbank Center), Ruth Finley Person Theatre, 50 Mark West Springs Road, 
Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on the NEPA 
review procedures, the status of the NEPA review, or the general 
conformity requirements, contact Brad Mehaffy, NIGC NEPA Compliance 
Officer, 202-632-7003. Additional information (e.g. public notices, 
scoping reports, and contact information) can also be obtained at the 
following Web site: (http://www.gratoneis.com/). The DEIS is available 

for review at the Rohnert Park--Cotati Regional Library and Santa Rosa 
Central Library. General information, including directions and office 
hours, is available online at: http://www.sonoma.lib.ca.us/branches/ or 

by calling (707) 584-9121 for the Rohnert Park--Cotati Regional Library 
or (707) 545-0831 for the Santa Rosa Central Library.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The proposed federal action is the NIGC's 
approval of a gaming management contract between the Graton Rancheria 
and SC Sonoma Management LLC. The approval of the gaming management 
contract would result in the development of a resort hotel, casino, and 
supporting facilities. The facility will be managed by SC Sonoma 
Management LLC on behalf of the Graton Rancheria, pursuant to the terms 
of a gaming management contract.
    The NIGC published a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register 
on February 12, 2004, briefly describing the proposed project/action 
and announcing the NIGC's intent to prepare an EIS. The Council of 
Environmental Quality (``CEQ'') regulations for implementing NEPA 
require a process, referred to as ``scoping,'' for determining the 
range of environmental issues to be addressed during the environmental 
review of a proposed project/action (40 CFR 1501.7). The scoping 
process entails a determination of environmental issues to be studied 
and documented in the EIS by soliciting comments from agencies, 
organizations and individuals.
    During the scoping process, the NIGC solicited comments from the 
general public (providing a 50-day comment period and including a 
public hearing) and offered Cooperating Agency status to both Federal 
and non-Federal agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers (USACE), the California Department of Transportation 
(Caltrans), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the California 
Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and the County of Sonoma. An EIS 
Scoping Report was published in August 2004, which summarized public 
scoping comments and identified the BIA, USACE, Caltrans, and Sonoma 
County as cooperating agencies.
    Since the release of the August 2004 Scoping Report the location 
for the proposed casino-hotel project has changed. A supplemental 
scoping process was initiated to address this change and allow an 
opportunity for the general public and agencies to comment on the scope 
of analysis for the new proposed location. A supplemental NOI was 
published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2005 and a second 
public comment period and public hearing were provided. A second, 
updated EIS Scoping Report was published in January 2006.
    The DEIS has been prepared which has incorporated the issues and 
concerns summarized within the scoping reports, to the extent required 
by NEPA. Seven alternatives are evaluated in detail in the DEIS, 
including development on one of three alternatives sites and a no 
action alternative. The proposed project/action (Alternative A) 
includes a casino/hotel resort on a site west of Rohnert Park (the 
Wilfred site). The casino/hotel resort would include restaurants, a 
hotel, an entertainment venue, gaming space, banquet/meeting space, and 
a pool and spa. In addition to the casino/hotel facility, the proposed 
development would also include on-site parking and possibly an on-site 
tertiary wastewater treatment plant.
    Alternative B consists of the development of a casino/hotel resort 
nearly identical to that proposed under Alternative A, but located on 
the northwest corner of an adjacent site, slightly further west of 
Rohnert Park (the Stony Point site). Alternative C also consists of the 
development of a casino/hotel resort nearly identical to that proposed 
under Alternative A. However, the Alternative C casino/hotel resort 
would be located on the northeast

[[Page 10792]]

corner of the Stony Point site. Alternative D consists of a smaller-
scale version of Alternative B. Alternative E consists of a business 
park development located on the northwest corner of the Stony Point 
site. Alternative F consists of the development of a casino/hotel 
resort nearly identical to that proposed under Alternative A but 
located on a different site in southern Sonoma County near the 
intersection of State Route 37 and the Lakeville Highway (the Lakeville 
site). Finally, Alternative G is the no project/action alternative, 
under which the NIGC would not approve the management contract.
    The Clean Air Act requires Federal agencies to assure that their 
actions conform to applicable implementation plans for achieving and 
maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for criteria air 
pollutants. The NIGC has prepared a DCD for the proposed action/project 
described above. The DCD is including in Appendix W of the DEIS.
    Public Comment And Solicitation: Written comments on the DEIS and/
or DCD must be postmarked by May 14, 2007. Comments received (written, 
orally during the public hearing, or via U.S. mail/fax/e-mail) will be 
considered during the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement (FEIS) and the Final Conformity Determination (FCD). At this 
time, there is no planned publication or distribution date for the FEIS 
or FCD.
    Commenting individuals may request confidentiality. If you wish us 
to withhold your name and/or address from public review or from 
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your written comments. Such requests 
will be honored to the extent allowed by law. Anonymous comments will 
not, however, be considered. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be 
made available to public in their entirety.
    Authority: This notice is published in accordance with Sections 
1506.6 of the CEQ regulations 40 CFR, Parts 1500 through 1508 
implementing the procedural requirements of the NEPA of 1969, as 
amended 42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq. This notice is also published in 
accordance with 40 CFR 93.155, which provides reporting requirements 
for conformity determinations.

    Dated: March 2, 2007.
Philip N. Hogen,
Chairman.
 [FR Doc. E7-4087 Filed 3-8-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7565-01-P

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