Shingle Springs casino foes file lawsuit
More forces have lined up against the Shingle Springs Indian casino that is expected to bring in more visitors than Yosemite National Park in a given year.
The Voices for Rural Living, a group of Shingle Springs residents, has filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court challenging Caltrans’ environmental findings.
The transportation agency last year approved a freeway interchange off Highway 50 that is necessary to building the $100 million casino. It is predicted to bring 3.7 million additional visitors to the high-growth area. Yosemite takes in 3.4 million people every year.
“Caltrans’ environmental impact report is a slap in the face to every resident of El Dorado County,” said Ron Dosh, the group’s spokesman and a Placerville attorney. “We’re going to come at them with both barrels and use the law.”
Caltrans spokesman Dennis Trujillo declined to comment on the details of the cases except to say that the agency is aware of at least 10 points in the environmental document in dispute.
“Obviously, we feel we have a good document that will stand up in court,” Trujillo said.
The citizens group objects to the prospect of increased traffic, vandalism, crime, noise pollution, litter and reduced air quality. It will even affect star-gazing, according to one concerned resident who lives a half-mile from the casino.
It will be run by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.
The plan calls for a 238,500-square-foot casino on 44 acres, a 250-room hotel, a five-level parking garage and 175,000 square feet in restaurant space.
Voices for Rural Living also plans to file suit against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in federal court alongside El Dorado County, questioning the accurate genealogy of the tribe.
South Lake Tahoe last week agreed to offer an opinion as a friend of the court on the county’s suits in state and federal court. The city would not be a full party. The City Council cited the economic impact of the casino as the reason for its interest.
County counsel told the panel last week it could lose about $45 million a year in revenue diverted from the local economy.
— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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