LA CENTER, Wash. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld the Interior Department’s decision to grant a reservation to the Cowlitz Tribe in southwestern Washington, rejecting efforts to block the construction of a $510 million casino and resort on the land.
The Columbian newspaper reports that the ruling, handed down Friday by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, affirmed a 2014 ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle.
The Cowlitz rejected treaty offers from the government in the 19th century, which left them without a reservation. They were formally recognized in 2002, and the Interior Department subsequently agreed to take a parcel near La Center into trust for the tribe’s reservation.
Two groups challenged the decision to take the land into trust and to allow casino gaming: nearby homeowners and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, which operates a competing casino.