Cowlitz Tribe faces unusual opposition to casino wastewater plant

Construction continues on the Cowlitz Casino and Entertainment Resort in Washington. Still image from Cowlitz Casino Project

The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington is facing unusual questions about the $13.4 million wastewater treatment plant under construction on its reservation.

Similar membrane bioreactor systems are being used successfully by three communities and two tribes in the state, The Columbian reported. Even the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't have major concerns, a drinking-water compliance manager told the paper.

Yet opponents of the $500 million Cowlitz Casino Project keep hammering the tribe, the EPA and members of Congress about the effort. Chairman Bill Iyall, though, isn't surprised by the negative attention.

“We know we need the most advanced system, because we knew we were going to be challenged, and we’ve been challenged on all fronts,” Iyall told the paper.

The tribe has to build its own system because an agreement to connect with the bioreactor treatment system in the city of La Center was met with opposition and was struck down in the state court system.

Get the Story:
Engineer, EPA defend Cowlitz wastewater plant design (The Columbian 3/6)
Second thoughts? Vancouver may revisit casino stance (The Columbian 3/4)
Appellants of Cowlitz casino project seek injunction (The Battle Ground Reflector 3/4)

Federal Register Notices:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (November 13, 2015)
Land Acquisitions; Cowlitz Indian Tribe (May 8, 2013)

DOI Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

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Opponents of Cowlitz Tribe ask judge to put a stop to casino work (3/4)
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Cowlitz Tribe included waiver of immunity in old casino agreement (3/1)
Cowlitz Tribe won't stop working on casino despite county threat (2/29)
Cowlitz Tribe starts hiring process for long-awaited casino resort (2/25)
Cowlitz Tribe celebrates start of construction on $500M casino (02/15)
Cowlitz Tribe close to reaching agreement with city for new casino (2/5)
Cowlitz Tribe plans to debut long-awaited casino in spring of 2017 (01/27)
Republican lawmaker questions Cowlitz Tribe's gaming project (01/22)

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