The Redding Rancheria owns and operates the Win-River Casino in Redding, California. Photo: Win-River Casino

Redding Rancheria faces opposition to move of casino amid changes in D.C.

The Redding Rancheria is planning to move its casino to a new site in California amid change thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C.

The Trump administration is making it harder for tribes to acquire land away from existing reservations. The shift in policy affects the Redding Rancheria, whose leaders hope to relocate the Win-River Resort and Casino to a more attractive location after winning a favorable federal court decision.

As a result of the ruling, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is moving forward with the environmental review of the tribe's land-into-trust application. But the final say rests with top political officials at the Department of the Interior in D.C. who have raised questions about new casinos.

"Interior believes the process of trust land acquisition for on-reservation parcels is an important and routine matter that creates economic drivers for tribes," Jim Cason, the Associate Deputy Secretary at the department, said in testimony to Congress on July 13.

"However, taking off-reservation lands into trust may pose complications for the department, as well as some members of the public, particularly when fee-to-trust applications are for gaming purposes," Cason said.

The scrutiny comes as a group called Speak Up! Shasta rallies opposition to the tribe's project, The Redding Record-Searchlight reported. Residents are being urged to submit comments to the BIA as part of the environmental review.

A consultant affiliated with the effort also told the paper that his firm works with the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians and that the tribe opposes the Redding Rancheria's plans. The Paskenta Band's Rolling Hills Casino is about 48 miles south of the proposed site of Win River.

The Paskenta Band does not appear to have independently said it opposes the relocation of the Redding Rancheria's casino.

The BIA issued a scoping report on the relocation in May. There is no timeline for the release of a draft environmental impact statement, which would mark the next major step in the land-into-trust process.

Read More on the Story:
Group out to stop Redding Rancheria's new casino (The Redding Record-Searchlight November 14, 2017)
The Buzz: Gambling on Smith Road [see second item] (The Redding Record-Searchlight November 17, 2017)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Redding Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Shasta County, California (November 29, 2016)

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Redding Rancheria v. Jewell (January 20, 2015)

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