Blue Lake Rancheria Ordinances
ORDINANCE No. 02-2000
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ORDINANCE
The Business Council of the Blue Lake Rancheria, empowered by the Tribal Constitution to enact ordinances, hereby ordains the following:
§1. Declaration of Purpose
(a) The purpose of this Ordinance is to ensure that the Tribe gives proper and meaningful consideration of environmental, cultural, historical, and ecological factors when making decisions which may significantly affect the environment of the Blue Lake Rancheria or other territory over which the Tribe has jurisdiction.
(b) The Business Council adopts this Ordinance to protect and promote the political integrity, economic security, health, safety and welfare of the Tribe, its members, and all person living on, or passing through, the Blue Lake Rancheria and to protect and preserve the environment, lands, culture, religion, and natural resources of the Blue Lake Rancheria.
For the purposes of this ordinance, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(a) The term "Business Council" means the Business Council of the Blue Lake Rancheria.
(b) The term "major tribal action" means the Tribal Council's approval of specific projects or activities, such as construction or management activities, located on or within the Rancheria or other territory over which the Tribe has jurisdiction, where the Tribal Council's approval is needed to carry out the project or activity and where the project or activity could have a significant effect on human health or the environment.
(c) The term "person" means any individual, corporation, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, social club, estate, trust, federal, tribal, state, county, city, or district government, or other political subdivision thereof or any other group or combination acting as a unit whether incorporated or not, including a person acting in fiduciary or representative capacity.
(d) The term "Rancheria" means all land, air, and water located within the exterior boundaries of the Blue Lake Rancheria.
(e) The term "Tribal EPA" means the Tribal Environmental Protection Agency of the Blue Lake Rancheria.
(f) The term "Tribe" means the Blue Lake Rancheria, a federally recognized Indian tribe.
(a) The applicability of this Ordinance shall extend to all persons who propose an activity covered by this Ordinance on or within the Rancheria or other territory over which the Tribe has jurisdiction.
(b) Any person who enters onto the Rancheria or other territory over which the Tribe has jurisdiction shall become subject to this Ordinance and shall be deemed to have consented to the jurisdiction of the Tribe and to be bound by the lawful enactments of the Tribe.
§4. Assessment of the Environmental Impacts of Proposed Activities
(a) Whenever making a decision on a major tribal action that could significantly affect the quality human health or the environment of the Rancheria or other territory over which the Tribe has jurisdiction, the Tribal Council shall consider the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts that could result if the Tribal Council approves the proposed project or activity.
(1) To carry out this provision, the Tribal Council shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a detailed report on the environmental impacts of the proposed action which is in substantial compliance with the requirements set out in the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. §4321, et seq.), the implementing regulations and guidance adopted by the Council on Environmental Quality, and the implementing regulations and guidance adopted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as they may be amended from time to time.
(A) The only provisions of federal law described above that shall apply to the Tribal Council when making decisions on proposed major federal actions are those provisions regarding the content of the detailed report on the environmental impacts of the proposed action. No other provisions of federal law, nor any rulings of any courts or administrative agency, shall apply under the authority of this Ordinance.
(2) Every person requesting that the Tribal Council take a major tribal action shall be responsible for preparing the detailed report on the environmental impact of the proposed action.
(b) The Tribal Council shall take no action on any proposed major tribal action that could significantly affect the environment without first complying with the requirements of this Ordinance.
(c) Where the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and implementing regulations and guidance adopted by the Council on Environmental Quality and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are triggered by their own provisions, this Ordinance shall have no effect.
§5. Casino Projects      [Digitzer's Note: Added through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
Casino Projects, as defined in this Section 5, shall comply with the following requirements in addition to the requirements contained in the other sections of this Ordinance.
"Affected Local Agencies" means Humboldt County and any city or special district in the County in which Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts may occur or which may provide services to a Casino Project.
"Casino Project" means any significant excavation, construction, or development directly related to the construction of a Gaming Facility, or any significant renovation or modification of an existing Gaming Facility.
"Commencement of a Casino Project" means commencing any construction or development activity for a Casino Project that will cause a direct change in the physical environment.
"Compact Gaming" means any gaming authorized by the Tribal-State Gaming Compact Between the State of California and the Blue Lake Rancheria of California, approved by the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs on May 5, 2000, and published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2000, or any amendments to said compact.
"Environment" means the physical conditions, which exist within the area, which will be affected by a Casino Project, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of historic or aesthetic significance.
"Gaming Facility" means any building in which Compact Gaming activities occur and all rooms, buildings, and areas, including parking lots and walkways, a principal purpose of which is to serve Compact Gaming.
"Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts" means any physical change in the Environment outside the boundaries of the Blue Lake Rancheria as defined in the 1983 Stipulation of Entry of Judgment in Hardwick v. United States (Fed. Dist. Ct., N.D.Cal.) 1710 SW, which will be caused by a Casino Project.
"Report" means the report required by Section 4 of this Ordinance.
B. Before Commencement of a Casino Project:
Before Commencement of a Casino Project, the Tribe will:
1. Inform the public and Affected Local Agencies of the proposed Casino Project by publicizing and conducting at least one public meeting in which the Tribe presents information describing the project, which may include schematic design drawings as well as verbal or written descriptions of the project. At the public meeting, make a written record of comments by members of the public or Affected Local Agencies concerning Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts.
2. In preparing the Report, include and evaluate Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts and including, to the extent deemed appropriate by the Business Council, any Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts identified by members of the public or Affected Local Agencies at the public meeting described in subsection B.1.
3. Provide copies of the Report to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the California State Clearinghouse in the Office of Planning and Research at least 45 days before Commencement of the Casino Project evaluated in the Report. When furnishing a copy of the report, include a written notice inviting comments on the Report and offering to meet with the Board of Supervisors or its representatives to discuss mitigation of significant adverse Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts.
4. Respond in writing to all comments received within 20 days after the Reports were transmitted in accordance with Subsection B.3.
5. Meet with the Board of Supervisors or its representatives to discuss mitigation of significant adverse Off-Reservation Environmental Impacts, if a written request for a meeting from the Board is received by the Tribe within 20 days after the Report was transmitted to the Board of Supervisors.
6. Publish hi a newspaper of general circulation serving the community of Blue Lake and the surrounding area a notice that the Report is available for inspection during times and at a location or locations set forth in the notice. The notice shall state how in embers of the public may obtain a copy of the Report. The Tribe may charge a reasonable fee for furnishing a copy of the Report to a member of the public. The notice shall invite comments on the Report and state that the Tribe will respond in writing to comments received within 20 days of the date the notice is published. The notice shall include the date, time, and location of a Business Council meeting at which members of the public may appear and comment on the Casino Project and the Report.
7. The Tribe shall make good faith efforts to mitigate any significant adverse Off-Reservation Impacts.
After Commencement of a Casino Project:
After Commencement of a Casino Project the Tribe will:
1. Send periodic reports to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on the progress of the Casino Project, the frequency of which shall be determined by the Business Council based on the expected duration of construction. The Tribe shall furnish no less than one progress report to the Board of Supervisors.
2. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation serving the Blue Lake area periodic notices of Business Council meetings at which progress reports on a Casino Project will be made. The notice shall include the time, date, and location of the meeting. The Business Council shall determine the frequency of the notices and meetings based on the expected duration of construction. The Tribe shall publish no less than one notice and conduct no less than one meeting at which a progress report will be made.
D. NEPA exemption. Casino Projects subject to the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") are exempt from the provisions of Subsection B of this Ordinance, except to the extent, if any, that compliance with NEPA would not result in consultation or opportunities to comment, at least, equivalent to those provided in Subsection B of this Ordinance.
§6. Effect of Ordinance on Other Tribal Ordinances      [Digitzer's Note: Renumbered through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
This Ordinance supersedes any conflicting or contrary superseding ordinances passed by the Tribe.
§7. Severability      [Digitzer's Note: Renumbered through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
If any provision of this Ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, its invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this Ordinance, and to this end the provisions of this Ordinance are severable.
§8. Sovereign Immunity      [Digitzer's Note: Renumbered through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
The sovereign immunity of the Tribe is in no manner waived by this Ordinance or by any action by the Business Council, the Tribal EPA, or other staff of the Tribe acting pursuant to this Ordinance.
§9. Amendments      [Digitzer's Note: Renumbered through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
This Ordinance may be amended at any time by the Business Council.
§10. Effective Date      [Digitzer's Note: Renumbered through an amendment dated 9/22/00.]
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon passage.
As the Chairperson of the Business Council for the Blue Lake Rancheria, I hereby certify that the Business Council adopted this Ordinance at a duly called meeting at which a quorum was present by a vote of 5 for, with 0 against, with 0 abstaining, with 0 absent, on this 2nd day of January, 2000.
Claudia Brundin, Chairperson
Melanie Shelanskey, Tribal Secretary
[Digitizer's Note: The amendment to Ordinance No. 02-2000 (dated Sept. 22, 2000) has been incorporated above with notes added. For assistance accessing this amendment, contact the National Indian Law Library.