The Tule River Tribe is hoping to relocate its Eagle Mountain Casino to this 40-acre site along West Street in Porterville, California. Image: Google Maps

Tule River Tribe seeks local support for off-reservation casino bid

The Tule River Tribe continues to push for a move of its casino to a new, off-reservation site in California.

The tribe plans to move the Eagle Mountain Casino to a more lucrative location. An environmental impact statement for the project is being reviewed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Among other factors, the agency will consider the impact on the local community. The tribe has asked the city of Lindsay for a letter of support and is negotiating agreements with the city of Porterville and Tulare County, The Porterville Recorder reported.

“This is the farthest [along] we’ve ever been,” Chairman Neil Peyron said at a project update last month, The Recorder reported.

The tribe is pursuing the relocation under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The process requires approval first by the BIA and then by the state governor.

If the state governor concurs with the BIA's determination, the 40-acre site for the casino must still be placed in trust. A separate decision is required at the federal level.

But the tribe must still return to the table as part of its Class III gaming compact. An amendment to the existing agreement calls for further negotiations to address the off-reservation casino.

Despite the many hurdles, the tribe remains optimistic. A draft environmental impact statement is expected in July, though the BIA is under no obligation to make a decision under any deadline.

The tribe's request for support from the city of Lindsay will be considered at a council meeting on Tuesday evening. The city is about 13 miles from the Porterville Airport Industrial Park, where the casino would be relocated. Eagle Mountain is currently about 20 miles away.

Read More on the Story:
Council asked to support EMC move (The Porterville Recorder March 13, 2018)
Tribe expects key decision in July (The Porterville Recorder February 24, 2018)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Tule River Tribe's Proposed Fee-to-Trust and Eagle Mountain Casino Relocation Project, Tulare County, California (December 30, 2016)

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