Following a spirited campaign by opponents, White Earth Nation tribal leaders have decided to reverse plans to build a new casino in Otter Tail County.
Last week, the White Earth Reservation Business Committee voted 4-0 to rescind its plans to build the Star Lake Casino, which was proposed for land east of Maplewood State Park near Dent, Minnesota.
The project was initially approved in 2015 by then leaders of the White Earth Band of Chippewa, and would have created a satellite location to complement its popular Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota.
But ever since that vote, the project has faced vociferous opposition from within the tribe and outside of it, with some tribal members concerned about the impact such a sizable investment would have on White Earth Nation's future, as the Pelican Rapids Press reports.
Opponents were also concerned about the impact of traffic, noise and pollution in an area of natural, rural beauty.
The project looked doomed this June, when two candidates who were opposed to it won seats on the tribal council, one of them Leonard "Alan" Roy.
He campaigned on the premise of opposing the new casino, and hailed the decision in a post on Facebook this past week as one that "saved our nation."
"While the RBC (Tribal Council) voted to overturn this project, the real heroes are the individuals that carried the movement," he wrote.
"This outcome proved that a handful of Tribal members could stop a $130 million gaming machine.
"Tribal members banded together to advance the common good. Recuperating the resources wasted on this project will be a project in itself."