North Fork tribe wins casino appeal

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians have wanted to build a casino just north of Madera on Highway 99 for about 15 years. Stand Up For California has led a group of individuals, surrounding casinos, and other organizations attempting to block it.

On April 10 a Washington, D.C. Circuit Court panel upheld a ruling by a lower court denying a challenge based on the fact that the casino would be built on land about 35 miles from the tribal reservation. The opposing group claims the land should never have been put in a trust by the Department of the Interior for this purpose.

As part of their judgment, the Circuit Court panel felt that, “After reviewing thousands of pages of evidence over the span of seven years, the Interior Department took the tract of land at issue into trust for the North Fork tribe and approved the tribe’s proposed casino. Viewing the same extensive record and affording the appropriate measure of deference to the department’s supportable judgments, we, like the district court, conclude that this decision was reasonable and consistent with applicable law.”

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