North Bend, Ore. – The Coquille Indian Tribe today acknowledged the publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register relating to the Tribe’s application to place 2.4 acres of land in Medford, Oregon, into a trust relationship with the federal government in order to operate a Class II gaming facility.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior published the NOI in order to announce the start of its activities to determine whether or not the land owned by the Coquille Tribe in Medford will be placed into trust. The Bureau will conduct an extensive process to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will include considerable input from local authorities and residents.
Speaking on behalf of the Tribe, Coquille Tribal Chairperson Brenda Meade stated, “Publication of the NOI is an important step toward bringing land into trust, but it is only a small first step in a long and involved process that leads to a final decision. The NOI does not signal approval of our project by any official of the Department of the Interior or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
Chairperson Meade continued, “We are now at a point where the BIA begins to look at how our project affects the region and to address the many questions and issues that will come forward. The Coquille Tribe appreciates the great amount of work that BIA staff members will face while proceeding through this process and will do its part to provide useful and accurate information and to find solutions to issues as they arise.”
With publication of the NOI, the next step in the process requires the BIA to receive comments on what information should be included in the EIS. Written comments on the scope of the EIS must be received by Feb. 17, 2015. The BIA will conduct a public scoping meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the North Medford High School Auditorium.
The full NOI is available online at https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-00550.
Updates on the federal EIS process will be available online at www.coquilleeis.com.
About the Coquille Indian Tribe: Comprising a people whose ancestors lived in the lands of the Coquille River watershed and lower Coos Bay, the Coquille Indian Tribe today has over 1,000 members and a land base of 7,043 acres. Tribal lands include the 5,400-acre Coquille Forest on which the Tribe has harvested timber successfully under the Northwest Forest Plan. The Tribe’s management of the forest was recognized as being environmentally sound and sustainable by the international Forest Stewardship Council, which certified the forest in 2011.
Contact: Ray Doering, Communications Director, 541-756-8800 ext. 1243 or (cell) 541-297-4611.