From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Kenosha Region Illinois and Wisconsin Casino Alert

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net 
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Kenosha Region Illinois and Wisconsin Casino Alert

Important BIA Hearing On Proposed New Mega-Casino October 25th

You Care About Your Community –  Please Don’t Miss This Meeting. 

*****See Action Items below

Dear Wisconsin and Illinois Friend:     

Don’t miss the critical public hearing this Tuesday, October 25th.                                   

Call The BIA To Get Your Copy Of The EIS. 

A massive new Mega-Casino is planned by the Menominee and Mohegan Tribes In Kenosha, Wisconsin.  This will affect a large region of Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement about the Casino.  You get to tell the BIA and the U.S. Government whether or not you think there should be more off-reservation gambling and more private land turned into Indian Reservations.  

*****ATTENTION:  Don’t miss the BIA public hearing about the EIS statement and the mega-casino proposal to be held at 7 PM Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 11800 12th Avenue, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.   Call your friends and tell them about the hearing.  BIA must hear from you.

Call (612) 725-4510 to leave a voice mail with your name and address for Herb Nelson with BIA.  Tell him you want a paper copy of the Draft EIS.

A recent poll in Wisconsin suggested that over two-thirds of the citizens think enough is enough.  That off-reservation casinos must be brought to a halt.

You don’t want to be left out.  Make your call today and find out what will happen in your area. 

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) just released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Menominee Kenosha Casino, which is 6 miles from the Lake County border.  This massive $808 million 3,200 position casino sits on 223 acres and will include not only a casino but the existing Dairyland Dog Track and a hotel resort complex.  

The EIS is how the Bureau of Indian Affairs (part of the Department of Interior) determines whether to take this land into trust for gaming purposes.  

Will the BIA allow what is now private land that pays taxes to be taken into trust ultimately establishing a Menominee Reservation in the middle of the city.  The BIA appears to be biased when dealing with pending applications for fee to trust status/reservation status.  

There is no place in the process for local citizens or governments to be officially recognized or have a say in their own future.  At present, the Governor of a state is the only elected official with the ability to say no.  Congress must change the law to give local government the power to control their future.

In the meantime, this EIS is the only place you get to officially get your comments in.  Based on the public comments on the study and the study itself, Terry Virden, Regional Director of the BIA recommends or does not recommend taking this land into trust for gaming to the Secretary of Interior.  Acting on his decision, the Secretary then formally takes the land into trust or refuses to do so if there is a reason to do so.  

Based on past practice, the Secretary of Interior usually follows the Regional Director’s recommendation.  This proposal is similar to the one made in 2000, which stirred a substantial amount of opposition.

*****Action Items:

-----1.  Make your call today.  Leave your mailing address and phone -- ask for a written copy of the EIS. 

-----2.  Call your friends to urge them to attend the public hearing Tuesday, Oct. 25th.  It’s a big deal!

-----3.  Call your Congressman at (202) 225-3121 to urge him to oppose this massive new casino.  Ask for his fax number so you can fax him a copy of your comments.

Below are some reasons we urge you to strongly oppose the proposed Kenosha Mega-Casino, both in writing and by attending the planned public hearing.  Just being there will help the cause.  

-----A.  A giant $808 million Kenosha mega-casino will drain business away from various entertainment venues including hotels, restaurants, and special entertainment attractions such as shopping centers all over Wisconsin and Illinois.

-----B.  A Kenosha Casino will increase the number of problem gamblers and will likely not provide anywhere enough revenues to local governments to address their increased social needs.  Some communities along the Lake have a much larger population than Kenosha County and will feel the greatest social impacts yet will receive no funds or have any say how this casino is run.  

-----C.  The Menominee and Mohegan Tribes are engaging in “reservation shopping.”  “Reservation shopping” is where an Indian Tribe looks for a new Casino site based on their new definition of “sacred ground.”  That is, where there is a freeway off-ramp close to a population center.  This is often across state lines or even within a state where the Tribe has virtually no aboriginal history.  

“Reservation shopping” is being examined closely now by the Congress.  The Senate and House are in the process of holding hearings on “reservation shopping” with legislation expected shortly. 

-----D.  A Kenosha Casino will increase vehicle traffic in the entire area up and down the lake,, worsening air pollution and causing more problems for citizens trying to shop and get to work. Congestion will be particularly bad on two major routes, U.S. 41 and the Illinois Tollway. 

-----E.  The recently revised checklist the BIA uses for conducting evaluations of whether there is a detrimental impact to surrounding communities includes all local communities within a 10 mile radius.  Yet, for example, Lake County, Illinois is only 6 miles from the proposed site.  The EIS prepared by the Menominee ignores the impact of the proposal on Lake County and other affected areas.  Why is the BIA choosing to ignore its own policy in the preparation of this EIS?

-----F.  Since the Federal government created this Casino boondoggle by passing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, Congress needs to step forward and help solve the problem.  

-----G.  No Casino should be allowed on land that was private fee land and converted into Federal Indian Trust Land without a vote of the people within jurisdictions within a 10-mile radius.   Local communities need to have a say in their future.  

-----H.  Many believe there should be at least a three-year moratorium on new Tribal gaming casinos to allow Congress to recognize the negative results of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and update this act to properly regulate a business that has grown to nearly $20 billion per year.  

-----I.  Congress should close current exceptions and loopholes whereby some tribes are allowed to impose casinos on local communities who don’t want them.    Even landless tribes and tribes with no reservation should not be allowed to overpower the will of local communities.

Public comments can be sent to:   Terrance Virden, Regional Director BIA, BIA, Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Room 550, Fort Snelling, Minnesota, 55111.  Comments will be accepted until November 21, 2005.    

The EIS and other information are available on the casino’s website, kenoshacasino.com.    You can call for more information and the EIS at (612) 725-4510.  You can fax a request for a copy of the EIS to (612) 713-4401.  You can fax comments to that number as well.

American Land Rights is a non-profit grassroots association that protects landowners and unique populations across America.  ALRA helped save the Osage Tribe from the Park Service in 1986.  ALRA, started in 1978, has associated groups and allies in every state.   

Please make sure you attend the meeting this Tuesday, October 25th in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.  This is your future and you can protect it.

Homeowners, families, church leaders, non-profits, business owners and others must join together to stop this spread of  “reservation shopping.”  Please make sure you call (612) 725-4510 to get a written copy of the Draft EIS.    Make plans now to be at the public hearing Tuesday, October 25th.

Thank you,
Chuck Cushman
Executive Director, American Land Rights Association

PS.  American Land Rights wants to help you defeat the Menominee and Mohegan Tribal MEGA Casino in Kenosha.  Please attend the Public Hearing October 25th.  “Reservation shopping” has got to stop.  Don’t forget to make your call to request a written copy of the Draft EIS.     Thank you for your help.

Please forward this message as widely as possible.  

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