Maine's attorney general has declined a request by the Androscoggin River Alliance to investigate whether the Oxford County casino received preferential treatment from state environmental regulators.
The alliance last week asked Attorney General William Schneider to review the Department of Environmental Protection's process for awarding permits to Black Bear Entertainment, arguing only one of three directors followed protocol. But Schneider declined to launch a review, saying there were no violations, though he did acknowledge the process wasn't followed "perfectly," according to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
Meanwhile, work has been halted at the casino site. The river alliance, along with residents, in April appealed the DEP's permit approval for the casino, asking the Board of Environmental Protection to stop work and reverse the agency's decision. Last week, the board ordered Black Bear to halt site work until it can prove it has the financial ability to complete the first phase of the project, according to the Sun Journal. Scott Smith, community development coordinator for Black Bear, said the company could prove its financial wherewithal in days. The board also gave Black Bear 90 days to collect data and prove it has sufficient groundwater to supply the four-season resort casino. The board, however, rejected the alliance and residents' request for a public hearing on the groundwater issue, saying it was unnecessary.
The board sent the permit back to DEP staff to add the two amendments.