Residents, officials urge feds to decide on Indian casino

Madera, California (AP) 3-08

Residents and politicians are urging the Interior Department to make a decision on an American Indian tribe’s proposal to build a casino along Highway 99.

The Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians want to construct a $250 million casino on a plot 50 miles away from their reservation in the Sierra foothills.

Tribal leaders say the casino will lift its members out of poverty and provide hundreds of jobs.

Opponents fear it will bring increased traffic and pollution to the region. Both sides spoke at a public meeting recently.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors approved the project three years ago, but the tribe needs approval from the Interior Department to buy land that isn’t part of its original reservation.