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Gambling Opponents Lose Tribal Casino Challenge

WASHINGTON (CN) - The D.C. Circuit cleared the way for a band of Pottawatomi Indians to open a 99,000 square-foot casino in Wayland, Mich., despite protest by the Michigan Gambling Opposition.

The court upheld the Department of the Interior's decision to let the tribe open the new casino about 25 miles north of Kalamazoo. MichGo challenged the permission on the grounds that the government must prepare an environmental impact report, because the casino is "large and controversial."

But the court concluded that gaming is not on the agency's list of activities that require an environmental impact study or assessment, so the agency legally followed its own guidelines before deciding that the study was unnecessary.

MichGO also argued, unsuccessfully, that the Indian Reorganization Act delegates too much authority over tribal lands to the Department of the Interior.

In a partial dissent, Judge Brown agreed with MichGO that the IRA's delegation of power gives the agency "too broad an authority with no standards to guide the agency's decisions."

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