Judge to review Indian casino’s impact report, county officials hot | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Judge to review Indian casino’s impact report, county officials hot

Gregory Crofton

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge on Friday agreed to review a revised and expanded environmental impact report for a highway interchange in Shingle Springs despite objections from El Dorado County.

The $17 million interchange is needed to accommodate the traffic that would be generated by a casino planned by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors says it opposes the interchange, in part because it would create congestion, impact air quality and take business away from South Lake Tahoe.

The county had filed a motion to stop the judge from making a ruling on the environmental report, arguing it first needed to be circulated to the public.

The report, at the request of the judge, has been expanded to include additional information regarding air quality impacts and state air standards. The next hearing for the case is scheduled May 21.

Ed Knapp, El Dorado County’s chief assistant counsel, said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision to issue a ruling on the revised environmental report, compiled by Caltrans.

“We’ll fight it in every form available to us,” Knapp said. “We don’t think it is the right way for a state agency to proceed.”

A spokeswoman from Caltrans on Monday declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.

Other lawsuits have been filed by the county and Voices for Rural Living, a group of concerned residents, to stop the interchange and casino. They challenge the legitimacy of the tribe and its right to the Shingle Springs Rancheria, where the casino would be built.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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