Project First Light Final Environmental Impact Report Released, Opened for Comment Period

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Releases Final State Environmental Report for Taunton Casino Project

(MASHPEE, MA – DECEMBER 9, 2014) – The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe announced today the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Project First Light, marking the passage of a key milestone for the tribe’s resort destination casino project.

“We are pleased to submit this final report of our proposed destination resort casino in Taunton,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell. “This report is the final step in the state’s environmental review process and helps us stay on track to bring thousands of jobs to southeastern Massachusetts.”

The tribe has submitted the FEIR on Project First Light in accordance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. The analysis includes responses to comments submitted during the public comment period on the draft report, which was released last year and discussed at numerous public meetings. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (FEIS) released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the tribe’s land in trust application in early September.

The Mashpee Wampanoags, a federally-recognized Indian tribe that has historically resided in southeastern Massachusetts, is proposing to build a casino, hotels, restaurants, shops, and an events center on a 151-acre site in Taunton.

Project First Light will be built on lands that will be taken into trust by the federal Department of the Interior. The construction phase of the project is expected to generate over 1,000 jobs and approximately $837 million in total economic activity in Massachusetts.

Once completed, the resort’s operation is expected to generate more than 3,500 full and part-time jobs as well as nearly $512 million in economic activity each year.

Mashpee Wampanoag are known as the “People of the First Light,” hence the project’s name. The tribe has both a strong and long tradition of natural resource conservation, which is also reflected in the project planning. Since the environmental review process began, the tribe has continued to refine the project’s design to avoid and minimize various impacts to the city. The tribe has worked with city of Taunton and state officials on an ongoing basis to improve traffic flow in the area, including proposed improvements to the Route 24/140 interchange.

The FEIR was submitted to the Massachusetts MEPA office on Dec. 1, and can be found online at http://www.mashpeewampanoagtribe.com/firstlightresort. The state is releasing the document in the Environmental Monitor for public comment on Dec. 10.

Public comments are due by Jan. 9, 2015 and can be sent to:

Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Attn:
MEPA office Ms. Holly Johnson,
EEA #14924 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Or via email: Holly.S.Johnson@state.ma.us
Or via fax 617-626-1181

About the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. After an arduous process lasting more than three decades, the Mashpee Wampanoags were re-acknowledged as a federally recognized tribe in 2007 and retain full tribal sovereignty rights. The Mashpee tribe currently has approximately 2,600 enrolled citizens.

Media Contact:
Sean Gonsalves, Regan Communications
508-420-5566 ext. 9 (o) 617-308-8393 (c) sgonsalves@regancomm.com

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