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An Open Letter to Governor Newsom about Agua Caliente’s Planned Concert Arena at Their Casino in Palm Springs

Palm Springs together January 9, 2020

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California Sacramento

Dear Governor Newsom:
You should be aware that we are asking your office, the state attorney general and federal authorities to review the actions of the Agua Caliente Band o Cahuilla Indians to develop an 11,000 seat concert and entertainment arena as part of their master-planned gaming complex in Palm Springs.

Despite substantial evidence of the project’s significant environmental impacts off the reservation, the Tribe has refused to conduct the level of environmental review required under the gaming compact between the state and the Tribe and the Tribal Environmental Policy Act. The proposed project would generate hundreds of thousands of new car trips annually to the Tribe’s gaming and arena compound, with impacts that would be felt far beyond the reservation.

We respect the Tribe’s property rights, but we have rights, too, namely to a
healthy environment and quality of life. We are concerned about a variety of environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions from a massive building, air pollution from hundreds of thousands of car trips that should be properly recognized and analyzed in a VMT study to determine the true polluting potential of this project, the regional water supply, sewer capacity, public safety, circulation and mobility. Local Police and Fire chiefs have raised serious concerns. There have been no alternatives studied, including a smaller arena at the gaming site or a location near the 10 freeway.

As you know, a serious violation of the state gaming compact could result in suspension of the Tribe’s gaming rights.

We are disappointed to have to call for this action, but efforts to be heard by the Tribe have been rebuffed, and local officials have poorly represented our interests ... giving the people just two days to review important documents and only one hearing at which to comment. They don’t seem to realize how “big” this is or, worse, they don’t care.

We request simply that a Tribal Environmental Impact Report be prepared as required. It is reasonable and well justified given the proposed development’s significant negative impacts off the reservation. Thank you for the consideration, Governor.

Complete article: An Open Letter to Governor Newsom about Agua Caliente’s Planned Concert Arena at Their Casino in Palm Springs