Why Proposition 70 is a Threat to our Environment
Proposition 70, the Tribal Gaming Compacts and Exclusive Gaming Rights Initiative on the November ballot, would allow unlimited expansion of unregulated and potentially untaxed casino gambling in many environmentally sensitive and undeveloped areas of California. It would encourage leapfrog development and urban sprawl on an unprecedented scale, yet permits virtually no regulation of massive tribal casino development by state and local government.
Voter passage of Proposition 70 would give more than 100 recognized Indian tribes carte blanche to ignore state environmental regulations and laws. Proposition 70 would:
DRAMATICALLY EXPAND GAMBLING: Prop 70 requires the California Governor to approve every single request for casino gambling that crosses his desk - within 30 days. If this initiative is approved, casino gambling operations could be opened in virtually every county in California and there would be no limit on the location or size of these casinos or the number of gaming machines and tables they could operate. The resulting dramatic expansion of gambling could impact tens of thousands of acres of undeveloped land.
TRIGGER URBAN SPRAWL AND LEAPFROG DEVELOPMENT: Many tribes are located outside developed urban boundaries -- including tribes located near Yosemite National Park, pristine coastal areas, sensitive desert habitats and in the Sierra. Construction of massive casino-gambling halls, and associated hotels, retail stores and other facilities in these undeveloped areas would promote urban sprawl, leapfrog development and environmental degradation -- without mitigation.
EXEMPT MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS: While tribes under Prop 70 would be required to prepare an "environmental study," whose scope and standards are not defined, analyzing the impact on the surrounding area of any new or expanded tribal gambling facility, they are not required to negotiate with local government to mitigate environmental, public safety or other effects attributable to the project.
One of California's most important environmental laws is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA requires disclosure of significant environmental impacts and mitigation of those impacts under some circumstances. CEQA does not apply to development on tribal lands. A related law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) applies to federal actions, including those on reservations. However, NEPA only applies when a federal permit is required, and a tribe does not always have to obtain a federal permit before building a casino. Moreover, NEPA does not require mitigation of identified projects. Land use laws are an important part of environmental laws. In California, local governments control land use, but local land use regulations do not apply to the tribes. The tribes have authority to develop their own land use laws for reservations.
Therefore, under the terms of Prop 70, California's environmental regulations might as well not exist for tribal casino developments.
No on Propositions 68 and 70 - Governor Schwarzenegger's Committee for Fair Share Gaming Agreements with major funding from Governor Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team. FPPC ID# 1266181