The preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) / Tribal Environmental Impact Report (TEIR) has been initiated to analyze the potential environmental consequences of the Tule River Tribe’s (Tribe) application for a proposed 40-acre fee-to-trust transfer and casino relocation project in incorporated City of Porterville, Tulare County, California approximately 15 miles west of the Tule River Tribe Reservation. The proposed trust property includes 17 parcels, bound by West Street on the west, an off-highway vehicle park (OHV) owned by the City of Porterville to the north and east, and a photovoltaic power station (solar farm) to the south. The Assessor’s parcel numbers (APNs) for the property are 302-400-001 through 302-400-017. The proposed casino resort would include an approximately 105,000 square foot casino, an approximately 250-room hotel, approximately 36,000 square feet of food and beverage facilities, administrative space, a multi-purpose events center, a conference center, and associated parking and infrastructure. The new casino resort would replace the Tribe’s existing casino, and the existing casino buildings would be converted to tribal government or service uses.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is the federal agency that is charged with reviewing and approving tribal applications to take land into federal trust status and is Lead Agency for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Tribe expects to enter into a new Class III gaming compact with the State of California for the relocated casino. Based on the requirements of other recent Tribal-State gaming compacts in California, it is expected that the Tribal-State gaming compact will require the Tribe to serve as Lead Agency in the preparation a Tribal Environmental Impact Report (TEIR) to analyze the potential off-reservation environmental impacts of the proposed casino resort. To eliminate redundancy and reduce paperwork, the EIS and TEIR will be prepared in coordination, resulting in a joint EIS/TEIR.
The BIA issued a Notice of Intent on December 30, 2016 which opened a 30-day public scoping period to identify potential issues, concerns, and alternatives to be considered in the EIS. The scoping period ended on January 30, 2017. A public scoping meeting was held on January 23, 2017 at the Porterville Veterans Memorial Building, 1900 W Olive Ave, Porterville, California 93257.
A Scoping Report is now available which describes the EIS process, explains the purpose and need for the Proposed Action, describes the Proposed Project and alternatives, and summarizes the issues identified during the scoping process. Appendices to the Scoping Report include all comment letters received by the BIA and the public hearing transcript.