[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 206 (Friday, October 23, 2020)]
[Pages 67561-67562]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-23497]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Final Environmental Impact Statement and Final Conformity 
Determination for the Tejon Indian Tribe's Proposed Fee-to-Trust 
Acquisition and Casino Resort Project, Kern County, California

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs (BIA), as lead agency, with the Tejon Indian Tribe (Tribe), 
Kern County (County), National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), and the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) serving as cooperating 
agencies, intends to file a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) 
with the EPA in connection with

[[Page 67562]]

the Tribe's application for transfer into trust by the United States of 
approximately 306 acres for gaming and other purposes to be located 
west of the Town of Mettler, Kern County, California.

DATES: The Record of Decision for the proposed action will be issued on 
or after 30 days from the date the EPA publishes its Notice of 
Availability in the Federal Register. The BIA must receive any comments 
on the FEIS before that date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments:
     By mail to: Amy Dutschke, Regional Director, Bureau of 
Indian Affairs, Pacific Region, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. 
Please include your name, return address, and ``FEIS Comments, Tejon 
Indian Tribe Casino Project'' on the first page of your written 
     By email to: Chad Broussard, Environmental Protection 
Specialist, Bureau of Indian Affairs, at [email protected], using 
``FEIS Comments, Tejon Indian Tribe Casino Project'' as the subject of 
your email.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chad Broussard, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Regional 
Office, telephone: (916) 978-6165; email: [email protected]. 
Information is also available at www.tejoneis.com.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BIA published the Notice of Availability 
for the Draft EIS in the Federal Register and the Bakersfield 
Californian on June 12, 2020 (85 FR 35948). The BIA held a virtual 
public hearing on July 8, 2020.
    Background: The Proposed Project consists of the following 
components: (1) The Department of the Interior's (Department) transfer 
of approximately 306 acres from fee to trust status pursuant to Section 
5 of the Indian Reorganization Act (25 U.S.C. 5108); (2) issuance of a 
determination by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to Section 20 
of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act determining whether a gaming 
facility on the project site would be in the best interest of the Tribe 
and its members and not detrimental to the surrounding community (25 
U.S.C. 2719(b)(1)(A)); (3) the approval of a management contract by the 
Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 
2711; and (4) the development of the trust parcel with a casino, hotel, 
convention center, multipurpose event space, several restaurant 
facilities, parking facilities, a recreational vehicle (RV) park, fire 
and sheriff stations, and associated facilities.
    The following alternatives are considered in the FEIS: (1) Proposed 
Project; (2) Reduced Intensity Hotel and Casino; (3) Organic Farm; (4) 
Alternate Site for the Proposed Project; and (5) No Action Alternative. 
The BIA has selected Alternative A1, the Proposed Project, as the 
Preferred Alternative as discussed in the FEIS.
    Environmental issues addressed in the FEIS include geology and 
soils, water resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural and 
paleontological resources, socioeconomic conditions (including 
environmental justice), transportation and circulation, land use, 
public services, noise, hazardous materials, aesthetics, cumulative 
effects, and indirect and growth inducing effects.
    The information and analysis contained in the FEIS, as well as its 
evaluation and assessment of the Preferred Alternative, will assist the 
Department in its review of the issues presented in the Tribe's 
application. Selection of the Preferred Alternative does not indicate 
the Department's final decision because the Department must complete 
its review process. The Department's review process consists of (1) 
issuing the notice of availability of the FEIS; (2) issuing a Record of 
Decision no sooner than 30 days following publication of a Notice of 
Availability of the FEIS by the EPA in the Federal Register; (3) 
issuing a Secretarial Determination pursuant to Section 20 of the 
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that determines whether the Tribe's gaming 
facility would be in the best interest of the Tribe and its members and 
is not detrimental to the surrounding community, 25 U.S.C. 
2719(b)(1)(A); (4) requesting the Governor of California's concurrence 
with the Secretarial Determination; and (5) issuing a final decision on 
the transfer of the proposed site from fee to trust status pursuant to 
Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act, 25 U.S.C. 5108. The 
National Indian Gaming Commission will separately consider the Tribe's 
application for a management contract pursuant to 25 CFR part 533.
    In accordance with Section 176 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 
7506), and the EPA general conformity regulations 40 CFR part 93, 
subpart B, a Final Conformity Determination (FCD) has been prepared for 
the proposed project. The Clean Air Act requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that their actions conform to applicable implementation plans 
for achieving and maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality 
Standards for criteria air pollutants. The BIA has prepared an FCD for 
the proposed action/project described above. The FCD is included in 
Appendix Z of the FEIS.
    Locations where the FEIS is Available for Review: The FEIS is 
available for review at www.tejoneis.com. Contact information is listed 
in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.
    Public Comment Availability: Comments, including names and 
addresses of respondents, will be available for public review. Before 
including your address, telephone number, email address, or other 
personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware 
that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask in your comment that your personal identifying information be 
withheld from public review, the BIA cannot guarantee that this will 
    Authority: This notice is published pursuant to Sec. 1503.1 of the 
Council of Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 
1508) and Sec. 46.305 of the Department of the Interior Regulations (43 
CFR part 46), implementing the procedural requirements of the NEPA of 
1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371, et seq.), and is in the exercise of 
authority delegated to the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs by 209 
DM 8. This notice is also published in accordance with 40 CFR 93.155, 
which provides reporting requirements for conformity determinations.

Tara Sweeney,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2020-23497 Filed 10-22-20; 8:45 am]