Casino Stalker | Litigation
DOI couldn't find documents for Cowlitz Tribe gaming decision

A federal judge is giving the Obama administration more time to review a gaming decision for the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington after learning that the Interior Department couldn't find some documents.

The documents were submitted by Clark County, whose officials oppose the Cowlitz casino. Since they were supposed to be a part of the administrative record, the Department of Justice asked for a "voluntary remand" to review the information.

But Judge Richard W. Roberts said there was no need to send the case back to DOI or to grant a stay of the litigation. He instead granted an extension for government attorneys to review the documents.

"Neither a remand nor a stay, however, is necessary to enable the federal defendants to review and reconsider the determination," Roberts wrote in the decision yesterday.

The documents at issue were contained on a CD that the county submitted sometime in 2007. DOI somehow "lost" the CD, according to a motion filed by the county, but the county was able to provide another copy and noted that the documents could be found in other parts of the administrative record.

Along with Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon, whose leaders oppose the Cowiltz casino, the county is arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar prevents the federal government from placing land into trust for the casino. The Cowlitz Tribe gained federal recognition in 2000, long after the 1934 cut-off in the Carcieri ruling.

The Grand Ronde Tribes were restored to federal recognition by an act of Congress in 1993.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Clark County v. Salazar.

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