SANDERSVILLE — Gov. Haley Barbour has asked Tracie Stevens, chairwoman of the Indian Gaming Commission, to halt work on a planned slot parlor near Sandersville that would strain state and local resources and potentially endanger rare species and habitats.
Although the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is rapidly moving forward with construction, the MBCI has not filed notice with the Commission or submitted a certification demonstrating the project’s impact on public health and safety and the environment as required by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Barbour wrote in a letter to Stevens.
“I wanted you to be aware that I am opposed to the recent decision by the leaders of the MBCI to move forward with these plans to expand gaming onto tribal lands for the reasons I have mentioned, especially since the Tribe has done little or nothing to identify environmental, public health and safety issues in the area, much less address them,” Barbour wrote. “Elected officials from the state and local government are united in their opposition to this development.”
Barbour also stated there is dissent among members of the Tribal Council on whether to pursue the project, which “consists merely of slot machines and a snack bar.”
“Clearly, many on the Tribal Council do not believe this slot parlor would promote the welfare of the Tribe and its members or further tribal economic development, which is required by IGRA,” Barbour wrote.