For immediate release
ELK GROVE—APRIL 16—The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday handed a decisive victory to Wilton Rancheria against the special interest group Stand Up For California, which has tried for years to stall or block the Tribe’s planned casino project in Elk Grove.
The judges ruled in favor of Wilton Rancheria and the U.S. Department of the Interior, upholding an earlier federal court ruling that rejected Stand Up’s attempt to reverse the Department’s decisions to recognize the Tribe and put its land into trust.
“Time after time courts have rejected these desperate and baseless attempts to stop our project,” said Wilton Rancheria Tribal Chairman Jesus Tarango. “We had to fight for federal recognition. We had to fight for our land. And now, thanks to the U.S Court of Appeals, we’ve taken another major step toward our goal of self-sufficiency.”
The court of appeals found that the Department acted appropriately in placing Wilton Rancheria’s land in federal trust and said Stand Up’s argument aimed at stripping Wilton Rancheria of its right to assets as a federally recognized tribe was “specious.” The court went on to rule that Stand Up’s contention that a new or supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should have been prepared when the Elk Grove location was selected “had no merit.”
Last month, Wilton Rancheria and its partner Boyd Gaming Corporation broke ground on “Sky River Casino,” the Tribe’s long-planned project on approximately 36 acres in Elk Grove. Scheduled to open in the second half of 2022, Sky River Casino is being developed and managed by Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming on behalf of the Tribe. Sky River Casino will be the closest casino to both Sacramento and the south Bay Area.
The Sky River project will enable the Tribe to improve housing, education, and healthcare for its more than 800 members and ensure that the tribal culture, heritage and language are protected and preserved.
The project will create thousands of jobs and major long-term benefits for Elk Grove and the surrounding economy. Wilton Rancheria has agreed to invest $186 million over the first 20 years with the City of Elk Grove and Sacramento County to support police, schools, roads and other services.
About Wilton Rancheria
Wilton Rancheria’s tribal status was terminated in 1958, and finally restored in 2009, after a long-fought campaign by tribal Elders. Wilton Rancheria is the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. In November 2011, the Tribe adopted its modern Constitution, and since that time, tribal leadership has worked to improve the lives of its members and positively serve the community from its offices in Elk Grove.
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