Republican lawmaker questions Cowlitz Tribe's gaming project

Artist's rendering of the proposed Cowlitz Casino and Entertainment Resort. Image from Cowlitz Indian Tribe Environmental Impact Statement

A Republican lawmaker is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to take a closer look at the wastewater system being planned by the Cowlitz Tribe as part of its long-delayed casino.

The tribe is building a $13.4 million system at the Cowlitz Casino and Entertainment Resort because it has been unable to secure local services. EPA approval is needed for the groundwater wells.

“We’re building a very advanced plant with green technology that would address all the drinking water quality issues,” Chairman Bill Iyall told The Longview Daily News.

But Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington), who has questioned the casino on prior occasions, claims the project could endanger the local water supply. She wants the EPA to conduct a thorough review, a request that could lead to even more delays for the tribe.

"Millions of gallons of raw sewage and human waste, with potential contamination by chemicals and prescription drugs, will be generated annually" at the facility, Beutler said in a letter to the EPA.

Construction is expected to begin early this year. Opponents -- including a tribe in neighboring Oregon with an existing casino -- are still hoping to stop the project in federal court.

Get the Story:
Herrera Beutler raises concerns over Cowlitz Tribe's proposed wastewater system (The Longview Daily News 1/22)

Federal Register Notices:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (November 13, 2015)
Land Acquisitions; Cowlitz Indian Tribe (May 8, 2013)

DOI Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

Related Stories
Cowlitz Tribe closes on financing for long-delayed $550M casino (12/09)
Cowlitz Tribe plans $13.4M wastewater system at casino site (11/13)
BIA formally declares reservation for Cowlitz Tribe casino (11/9)
Cowlitz Tribe already in debt $485M for long-delayed casino bid (10/12)
Cowlitz Tribe turned down Donald Trump for gaming partnership (10/05)
Cowlitz Tribe prepares for groundbreaking on casino in early 2016 (09/30)

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