Artist's rendering of the Wilton Rancheria's resort project in Elk Grove, Caifornia. Image by Wilton Rancheria
California | Land Acquisitions | Litigation

Wilton Rancheria again wins backing for casino land-into-trust application



The Bureau of Indian Affairs is standing by its decision to place land into trust for the Wilton Rancheria.

The BIA approved the tribe's land-into-trust application on January 19, the last full day of the Obama administration. The record decision was signed by Larry Roberts, who at the time was holding the title of "Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs."

Casino opponents -- including a secretive group called Stand Up For California -- claim only the "Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs" can approve land-into-trust applications. But the Trump administration rejected that line of thinking in a July 13 letter and dismissed their attempt to appeal the BIA's decision.

"This decision solidly confirms the placing of land into federal trust was valid and that we have every right to continue forward with our economic development plans,” Chairman Raymond “Chuckie” Hitchcock said in a statement quoted by The Elk Grove News.

After the BIA made the decision on January 19, the 36-acre site in Elk Grove, California, was placed in trust on February 10. Casino opponents, though, still hope to fight the acquisition as part of a lawsuit in federal court that had been put on hold while the administrative appeal was being considered.

The tribe is planning a $400 million casino at the site.

Read More on the Story:
BIA Denies Appeal, Wilton Rancheria Wins Skirmish in Elk Grove Casino War (The Elk Grove News 7/18)
Federal executive dismisses appeal against proposed EG casino (The Elk Grove Citizen 7/17)
Appeal against Elk Grove casino effort dismissed (The Sacramento Business Journal 7/17)

Federal Register Notices:
Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Revised Draft Conformity Determination for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 14, 2016)
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 29, 2015)
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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Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino (June 21, 2017)
Charles Banks-Altekruse: Stand up to bullying tactics of shady 'California' group (March 7, 2017)
Wilton Rancheria joins lawsuit as foes challenge casino decision (March 2, 2017)
Bureau of Indian Affairs confirms Wilton Rancheria casino site in trust (February 21, 2017)