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Interior Department rejects tribal casino near Richmond

Federal officials have rejected plans by a tribe with Lake County connections to build a casino near Richmond.

The U.S. Department of Interior said Friday that the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians had not demonstrated a significant historical connection to the proposed casino site.

In September, the agency issued a similar denial to the Ukiah-based Guidiville Band of Indians, which also was attempting to build a casino near San Pablo Bay.

Scotts Valley tribal officials could not be reached Friday for comment.

The tribe had been seeking to build a 225,000-square-foot casino on 30 acres on the shores of San Pablo Bay. They said it is part of their ancestral territory and should be restored as tribal land. Its members can trace their lineage to the Carneros region in Napa County, 15 miles from the Richmond site, tribal officials said.

The two tribes' efforts to establish Bay Area casinos have been criticized as "reservation shopping." Critics say allowing tribes to build away from their ancestral lands opens the gates for others to build casinos wherever they want.

In 2008, at least six North Coast tribes were seeking off-reservation casinos.

The Scotts Valley tribe had been working on obtaining the Richmond land for more than a decade. It completed an environmental impact report in 2008.

It would have been the first reservation for the tribe in about 50 years. A 57-acre reservation was established for the tribe in Lake County in 1911. But the tribe was among many terminated by the federal government in the 1950s and 1960s. It subsequently lost the land.

The Scotts Valley tribe had its federal recognition restored in 1991 but has remained landless.

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