Wilton Rancheria at impasse with city over stalled casino bid

A view of the Wilton Rancheria's land-into-trust site near Galt, California. Photo from Wilton EIS

The Wilton Rancheria and the city of Galt, California, are at an impasse over long-delayed plans for a casino.

A memorandum of understanding calls for the tribe to reimburse the city for costs associated with the environmental review of the project. Chairman Raymond Hitchcock, however, said he was worried about the city's plan to conduct an economic analysis to the tune of $200,000.

"You’re treating us like we’re a developer" instead of a sovereign government, Hitchcock told the city at a public meeting on October 20, The Galt Herald reported. He's worried that the study could be used against the tribe as the process moves forward, the paper said.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the preparation of an environmental impact statement in December 2013. A scoping report was released in February 2014 but there's been little movement on the federal level since then.

This figure shows the preferred plan for the casino site. Image from Wilton EIS

The tribe hopes to build a casino on a 282-acre site outside of city limits but within Galt's sphere of influence. The project is still in the early stages so there aren't concrete details about the facility.

The tribe's federal recognition was reaffirmed in 2009. Presumably, that makes the tribe eligible for an exception in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that applies to newly recognized tribes.

Get the Story:
City to fund consultants to evaluate potential casino impacts (The Galt Herald 10/28)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 4, 2013)

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