McMorris Rodgers Asks Government To Extend Comment Period For Tribal Casino

By Steve Jackson

U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers says the federal government should delay its decision on a proposed tribal casino on the West Plains an extra 45 days to allow Spokane County to voice its objections.

Representative McMorris Rodgers is asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs to extend the comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Spokane Tribe’s proposed casino in Airway Heights. She says Spokane County commissioners, who until recently were barred by a legal agreement from saying anything about the proposal, should be given an adequate opportunity to comment.

Commissioner Todd Mielke has told Spokane Public Radio that he has concerns that the  development could result in  “encroachment” on nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, creating problems for planes on regular training flights and making the base more likely to be closed.

While the city of Spokane also supported a resolution opposing the casino, that was not a unanimous decision. Spokane city council president Ben Stuckart is one who voted against that resolution, who says the recently released Environmental Impact statement makes it clear the Casino project does not threaten Fairchild:

Stuckart: To me it was crystal clear in reading that when someone said your encroaching on the base and it hurts, they broke down all the BRACK committee that decides which bases close, and they broke that down and said this project is not going to affect it.”

Under federal law, the bureau accepts comments on the final impact statement for 30 days, but can extend that for another 45. After all comments are collected, the Interior Department issues a Record of Decision. The final approval on the casino must be given by Gov. Jay Inslee.

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