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California Tribal Casino Under Investigation

5 August 2005

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "In response to pleas from frustrated county officials, the state is investigating complaints of unsafe working conditions and improper waste disposal at the Campo Indian tribe's Golden Acorn Casino.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office wants to inspect the casino's sewage treatment plant to ensure that it does not pose a threat to public health, said Vince Sollitto, the governor's spokesman.

"The investigation is in response to a letter from county Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose district includes the Golden Acorn.

"Jacob wrote the letter July 21, after The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that wastewater with 700 times the amount of coliform bacteria allowed under state law was being sprayed onto the ground in an unfenced area behind the casino.

"The news was especially troubling to residents and businesses on or near the reservation because they rely on groundwater for drinking and cooking.

"…Jacob asked the governor to step in because the county doesn't have jurisdiction over most American Indian land – even in situations that pose a serious risk to public health. Someone must ensure the safety of Campo tribal members and casino employees, patrons and neighbors, she said.

"…The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspected the casino's treatment plant this year but did not test the water for harmful bacteria or require the casino to provide safety equipment for workers.

"…Since the Union-Tribune story was published in June, the Campo tribe and casino management have taken steps to deal with the sewage problems. In the past few days, the tribe finished installing a fence around the field where wastewater is being sprayed, said Ray Cruz, who is in charge of casino facilities…"

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