SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: December 20, 2001
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
COUNTY DEMANDS FULL ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION FOR PROPOSED CASINO
COMPLEX IN SD BACKCOUNTY
JAMUL - The County of San Diego is seeking a detailed environmental statement for a proposed plan to turn more than 100 acres of land in the small East County community of Jamul into a multilevel gambling complex.
The County has filed an appeal with the United States Department of the Interior challenging a November 9, 2001 decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) which determined that the project would have no significant impact on the surrounding environment. It is the first time the County has issued a legal challenge to a BIA decision. The project is being proposed by the Jamul Indian Village.
"Residents have genuine fears that the massive scope of this sprawling casino complex will compromise the rural character of San Diego's majestic Backcountry. I share the community's concerns about increased traffic problems, public safety and infrastructure issues," said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "The Bureau of Indian Affairs must recognize the immediate need for an adequate environmental report," Jacob said.
The Jamul Indian Village hopes to acquire approximately 101 acres immediately north of the 3700 acre Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve. The land is subject to development restrictions under the County's landmark "Multiple Species Conservation Plan," (MSCP). The MSCP was developed by the County of San Diego, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Department of Fish and Game. It strives to set aside native habitat for endangered plants and animals.
In a July 17, 2001 letter to the BIA, the office of California Governor Gray Davis warned that the large-scale gambling complex would pose significant threats to the nearby preserve and would have, "...significant potentially unmitigable impacts on sensitive State resources," the Governor's office wrote.
For nearly two years, Jacob has been urging the state and federal governments to turn down the Tribe's trust application for the land. "The size and extent of the tribe's proposal would be detrimental to the quality of life of Backcountry residents," Jacob said.