Stand Up for Cal. v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Civil Action No. 12-2039 (BAH)

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Columbia
Writing for the CourtBERYL A. HOWELL, Chief Judge
Citation204 F.Supp.3d 212
Parties STAND UP FOR CALIFORNIA!, et al., Plaintiffs, v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et al., Defendants, v. North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, Intervenor-Defendant.
Decision Date06 September 2016
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 12-2039 (BAH),C/w : Civil Action No. 12-2071 (BAH)

204 F.Supp.3d 212

STAND UP FOR CALIFORNIA!, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et al., Defendants,
v.
North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, Intervenor-Defendant.

Civil Action No. 12-2039 (BAH)
C/w : Civil Action No. 12-2071 (BAH)

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

Signed September 6, 2016


204 F.Supp.3d 224

Brian A. Daluiso, Perkins Coie LLP, San Diego, CA, Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, Snell & Wilmer, LLP, Phoenix, AZ, Sean M. Sherlock, Snell & Wilmer, Costa Mesa, CA, Benjamin S. Sharp, Perkins Coie LLP, James Eamonn Sherry, Merrill C. Godfrey, C. William Frick, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLC, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs.

Eileen T. McDonough, Gina L. Allery, Joseph N. Watson, Peter Kryn Dykema, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

Christopher E. Babbitt, Seth Paul Waxman, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, Hockessin, DE, Danielle Mary Spinelli, Wilmer Cutler Paickering Hale & Dorr LLP, Washington, DC, John Michael Schultz, Lori Irish Bauman, Ater Wynne LLP, Portland, OR, for Intervenor-Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BERYL A. HOWELL, Chief Judge

Table of Contents

I. BACKGROUND...288

A. HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS OF THE NORTH FORK TRIBE...228

B. MADERA SITE...231

C. ACTIONS UNDERLYING ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS...231

D. COMMENCEMENT OF INSTANT LAWSUIT...234

204 F.Supp.3d 225

E. PARTIAL REMAND AND SUBSEQUENT STATE AND AGENCY ACTIONS...235

F. SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING, CALIFORNIA LITIGATION AND RELATED FILINGS...238

G. CALIFORNIA STATE COURT LITIGATION...240

H. PARTIES' POSITIONS ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS...242

II. LEGAL STANDARDS...243

A. MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT...2434

B. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT...2446

III. DISCUSSION...246

A. STAND UP PLAINTIFFS' FIFTH AND SIXTH CLAIMS FOR RELIEF...248

B. STAND UP PLAINTIFFS' CHALLENGES TO THE GOVERNOR'S CONCURRENCE...248

1. Secretary's Two-Part Determination (IGRA ROD)...249

2. California Governor's Concurrence...250

3. Secretary's Land Acquisition Decision (IRA ROD)...254

C. IGRA RECORD OF DECISION...257

1. Historical Connection To The Madera Site...258

a. Camp Barbour Treaty Of 1851...259

b. Occupancy Or Subsistence Use In The Vicinity...260

2. Impacts On The Surrounding Community...261

a. Congressional Intent...261

(i) Section 2719(b)(1)(A)'s "Not Detrimental To The Surrounding Community" Requirement...263

(ii) Section 2719(a)'s Preference For On-Reservation Gaming...263

b. Community Benefits...264

c. Mitigation Measures...264

d. Community Harms...266

(i) Economic Impact On The Picayune Tribe...266

(ii) Problem Gamblers, Traffic And The Swainson's Hawk...274

D. IRA RECORD OF DECISION...276

1. Applicable Legal Framework...277

2. Secretary's Explanation Of Statutory Authority...279

3. Stand Up Plaintiffs' Arguments...280

a. IRA Section 18 Election...283

(i) "Indians Residing On One Reservation" Constitute A Tribe...284

(ii) Alternative Definitions Of "Indian" In § 479 Need Not Be Considered... 287

(iii) "Unified" Tribal Affiliation Is Not Necessary...287

(iv) North Fork Rancheria's Purchase Is Significant...289

b. North Fork Tribe's Continuing Tribal Existence...291

(i) North Fork Rancheria Was Purchased For The North Fork Tribe...292

(ii) Speculation That IRA Voters Were Not North Fork Tribe Members Is Unfounded...296

(iii) North Fork Tribe Is A Federally-Recognized Indian Tribe...297

E. NEPA COMPLIANCE...302

1. Alternative Sites...305

a. Applicable Legal Principles...305

b. Discussion Of Alternatives In The FEIS...306

c. Stand Up Plaintiffs' Arguments...308

(i) Properties "Along The SR-41 Corridor" And "Avenue 7"...308
204 F.Supp.3d 226
(ii) North Fork Rancheria...310

(iii) Old Mill Site...311

2. Impact on Crime...313

3. Mitigation Measures For Problem Gambling...315

F. CAA CONFORMITY DETERMINATION...316

1. Regulatory Overview...317

2. Previously-Rejected Procedural Challenge...318

3. Previously-Rejected Challenge To Emissions Model Used...319

4. Challenge To Emissions Estimates And Mitigation Measures...320

IV. CONCLUSION...323

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians (the "North Fork Tribe"), a federally-recognized American Indian tribe, plans to construct a casino-resort complex with a gaming floor offering up to 2,500 gaming devices, six bars, three restaurants, a five-tenant food court, a 200-room hotel tower, and 4,500 parking spaces on a 305.49-acre parcel of land located in Madera County, California ("Madera Site"). The casino will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the people and the land in that county, with the hope that it will benefit economically the Indian tribe undertaking its development. The plaintiffs are residents of Madera County vehemently opposed to the casino's construction. To stop the casino from coming to fruition, they have initiated both state and federal litigation as well as statewide political efforts over the last seven-plus years, setting, in their own words, "high legal and political hurdles." This case is one of those efforts to halt the North Fork Tribe's casino development. While the plaintiffs' many concerns about the impending casino development are understandable, the law is not on their side.

Here, six plaintiffs, Stand Up for California!, Randall Brannon, Madera Ministerial Association, Susan Stjerne, First Assembly of God—Madera, and Dennis Sylvester (collectively, "Stand Up"), and the plaintiff Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians ("Picayune Tribe" or "Picayune"), bring this consolidated action against the defendants United States Department of the Interior ("DOI"), Sally Jewell, in her official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior ("Secretary"), Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA"), and Lawrence Roberts, in his official capacity as Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs,1 (collectively, "federal defendants"), and the intervenor-defendant North Fork Tribe, challenging, collectively, three separate but related decisions of the Secretary regarding the Madera Site, under five separate laws, namely: the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. §§ 551, et seq. , the Indian Reorganization Act ("IRA"), 25 U.S.C. §§ 461, et seq. , the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"), 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701, et seq. , the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq. , and the Clean Air Act ("CAA"), 42 U.S.C. § 7506. See generally Third Amended Compl. ("TAC"), ECF No. 103; Picayune's Compl., Case No. 12–cv–2071, ECF No. 1.

The first decision, made in September 2011, pursuant to the IGRA, 25 U.S.C. § 2719(b)(1)(A), determined that the North Fork Tribe would be permitted to conduct gaming on the Madera Site. See generally BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS , Record of Decision,

204 F.Supp.3d 227

Secretarial Determination Pursuant to the IGRA for the 305.49-Acre Madera Site in Madera County, California, for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians (Sept. 1, 2011) ("IGRA ROD"), Jt. App. at 1443–1537, ECF Nos. 128-8 to -9.2 The second decision, made in November 2012 pursuant to the IRA, 25 U.S.C. § 465, approved a fee-to-trust application submitted by the North Fork Tribe, whereby the United States would acquire the Madera Site to hold it in trust for the benefit of the North Fork Tribe. See generally BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS , Record of Decision, Trust Acquisition of the 305.49-acre Madera site in Madera County, California, for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians (Nov. 26, 2012) ("IRA ROD"), Jt. App. at 1611–79, ECF Nos. 128-9 to -10. The Court previously addressed these two agency decisions in denying a motion for a preliminary injunction brought by the Stand Up plaintiffs in January 2013. See Stand Up for California! v. U.S. Dep't of Interior (Stand Up I) , 919 F.Supp.2d 51, 54 (D.D.C.2013). The third decision, made in October 2013, after this Court's denial of the preliminary injunction, is the Secretary's non-action with respect to, and publication in the Federal Register of, a "Tribal-State Compact" between the North Fork Tribe and the State of California, which compact is required under the IGRA, 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(1)(C), to conduct class III gaming on Indian lands. See TAC ¶¶ 103–05, 115.

Pending before the Court are four cross-motions for summary judgment filed by all of the parties: (1) the Stand Up plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment ("Pls.' Mot."), ECF No. 106; (2) the plaintiff Picayune Tribe's motion for summary judgment,

204 F.Supp.3d 228

ECF No. 108; (3) the intervenor-defendant North Fork...

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20 practice notes
  • Stand Up for Cal. v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Case no. 2:16-CV-02681-AWI-EPG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • July 18, 2018
    ...of the Good Faith Negotiation Action before this Court. Id. , Docs. 163, 163-1; Stand Up for California! v. Dept. of the Interior , 204 F.Supp.3d 212, 240 (D.D.C. 2016) ("On 328 F.Supp.3d 1058July 29, 2016, Lawrence S. Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, notified the Nort......
  • Stand Up for California! v. United States Dep't of Interior, 2:16-cv-02681-AWI-EPG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 5, 2021
    ...arguments were ultimately rejected, and the Department's decisions were upheld. Stand Up for California! v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F.Supp.3d 212, 323 (D.D.C. 2016), aff'd, 879 F.3d 1177, 1190-92 (D.C. Cir. 2018). Concurrent to this lawsuit, California enacted a statute that ratifie......
  • Loper Bright Enters. v. Raimondo, Civ. Action No. 20-466 (EGS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • June 15, 2021
    ...Guardians v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 611 F.3d 692, 714 (10th Cir. 2010); Stand Up for Calif.! v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F. Supp. 3d 212, 304 (D.D.C. 2016). "[P]redetermination occurs only when an agency irreversibly and irretrievably commits itself to a plan of action that is d......
  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Bernhardt, Civil Action No. 18-2242 (PLF)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • June 5, 2020
    ...sits as an appellate tribunal. The entire case on review is a question of law.’ " Stand Up for California! v. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F. Supp. 3d 212, 244 (D.D.C. 2016) (quoting Am. Bioscience, Inc. v. Thompson, 269 F.3d 1077, 1083 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (internal citations omitted)); see also......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • Stand Up for Cal. v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Case no. 2:16-CV-02681-AWI-EPG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • July 18, 2018
    ...of the Good Faith Negotiation Action before this Court. Id. , Docs. 163, 163-1; Stand Up for California! v. Dept. of the Interior , 204 F.Supp.3d 212, 240 (D.D.C. 2016) ("On 328 F.Supp.3d 1058July 29, 2016, Lawrence S. Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, notified the Nort......
  • Stand Up for California! v. United States Dep't of Interior, 2:16-cv-02681-AWI-EPG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 5, 2021
    ...arguments were ultimately rejected, and the Department's decisions were upheld. Stand Up for California! v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F.Supp.3d 212, 323 (D.D.C. 2016), aff'd, 879 F.3d 1177, 1190-92 (D.C. Cir. 2018). Concurrent to this lawsuit, California enacted a statute that ratifie......
  • Loper Bright Enters. v. Raimondo, Civ. Action No. 20-466 (EGS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • June 15, 2021
    ...Guardians v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 611 F.3d 692, 714 (10th Cir. 2010); Stand Up for Calif.! v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F. Supp. 3d 212, 304 (D.D.C. 2016). "[P]redetermination occurs only when an agency irreversibly and irretrievably commits itself to a plan of action that is d......
  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Bernhardt, Civil Action No. 18-2242 (PLF)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • June 5, 2020
    ...sits as an appellate tribunal. The entire case on review is a question of law.’ " Stand Up for California! v. Dep't of the Interior, 204 F. Supp. 3d 212, 244 (D.D.C. 2016) (quoting Am. Bioscience, Inc. v. Thompson, 269 F.3d 1077, 1083 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (internal citations omitted)); see also......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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