The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that analyzes the potential environmental effects of Wilton Rancheria’s (Tribe’s) application for a 282-acre fee-to-trust transfer and casino-hotel project to be located west of Highway 99 and north of Twin Cities Road. The DEIS also evaluates two alternative locations. The BIA is serving as Lead Agency for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The BIA issued a Notice of Availability of the DEIS on December 29, 2015 which initiated a 45-day public review period, which closed on February 29, 2016. A public hearing on the project was held at the Chabolla Community Center on January 29, 2016.
The BIA will prepare responses to the comments received on the DEIS, and release a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in the summer of 2016. After the release of the FEIS, the BIA will determine whether the land may be taken into trust and the project constructed on the site. If the BIA approves the Tribe’s application, then the Tribe will negotiate an agreement with the State to allow the operation of a casino.
Below are frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Wilton Rancheria project:
What role does the City of Galt play in the review and approval of the Wilton Rancheria project?
The proposed casino-hotel project and the DEIS are undertakings of the Wilton Rancheria, the BIA and the State of California. The City has no land use or approval authority over the project. However, if the decision is made by the Tribe, BIA and State to locate the project north of Twin Cities Road, the project will impact the City. Therefore, the City is in the process of determining what those impacts will be, and the extent of the impacts.
Will the City Council or Galt residents have an opportunity to vote on the Wilton Rancheria project?
The Wilton Rancheria project requires approval from the BIA to take the land into trust and the California Governor’s Office to approve a tribal gaming compact. Local jurisdictions are consulted through the process, but ultimately have no vote or land use authority over the project.
What is the City doing to address impacts of the project on our community, such as loss of future tax revenue, public safety and traffic?
The DEIS presents an evaluation of all alternative sites for the potential impacts associated with the project, including such items as economic, social, transportation, public safety and noise. The DEIS can be found at www.wiltoneis.com. The City has submitted a comment letter on the DEIS, which can be found on the City’s website. Prior to proceeding with development of the project, the Tribe is required to negotiate agreements with affected local jurisdictions to mitigate potential impacts.
Has the City taken an official position on the project or its location?
The City has taken no position on the project or its location.