Leaders of the Spokane Tribe dedicated an office for their Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights, on June 2, 2017. Photo: Spokane Tribe Economic Project
Litigation | Openings & Closings

Spokane Tribe casino doesn't bother Air Force despite claims in lawsuit

The Spokane Tribe and the U.S. Air Force are both disputing claims being made about a new casino in Washington.

Opponents claim the $400 million Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights will harm the neighboring Fairchild Air Force Base. But a military spokesperson said that wasn't the case.

“There are sometimes safety, noise and light pollution concerns, and encroachment also can be a concern,” Col. Christopher Karns, the director of Air Mobility Command Public Affairs, told The Spokesman-Review. “But there is a strong belief by us that all of our concerns can be completely mitigated by the Spokane Tribe.”

During the lengthy environmental review process for the Spokane Tribe Economic Project, the Air Force officially said the project's effects on Fairchild were “insignificant,” the tribe noted in a press release. But that didn't stop officials in Spokane County from bringing up claims about the base in a lawsuit that was filed in federal court this month.

Indianz.Com on Google Maps: Gaming War in Washington

The Kalispel Tribe, whose leaders operate the Northern Quest Resort and Casino about 3 miles from the Spokane site, are also suing the federal government for approving the new development.

The Spokane Tribe Casino is expected to open in August.

Read More on the Story:
Air Force says proposed Spokane Tribe casino poses no insurmountable obstacles (The Spokesman Review 6/24)
County Claims New Casino Is Bad for Air Force Base (Courthouse News 6/19)

Relevant Documents:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Two-Part Determination Letter for Spokane Tribe Casino (June 15, 2015)
Washington Governor Approval Letter for Spokane Tribe Casino (June 8, 2016)

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Spokane Tribe of Indians West Plains Casino and Mixed Use Project, City of Airway Heights, Spokane County, WA (February 1, 2013)

Related Stories:
Spokane Tribe on track to open casino later this year amid lawsuits (June 2, 2017)
Spokane Tribe faces another challenge to off-reservation casino (May 30, 2017)
Trump administration faces test of off-reservation gaming policy (April 18, 2017)