Air Force Does Not Support the Spokane Tribe Casino Project

planeThis followup statement was issued today by Steve Stevens, President & CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated and Kevin Twohig, Chair of Forward Fairchild.

“On June 15 the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced their decision to support the Spokane Tribe Casino Project. The project is now on Governor Inslee’s desk and he has one year to exercise veto authority. Although we are not opposed to the Tribe’s proposal to build a casino, we are opposed to the location they’ve chosen.

While the Air Force encourages the community to adopt land-use regulations that protect the Base’s mission, they do not comment on individual development projects – they leave the encroachment issue to the local community. The Air Force has been a cooperating agency in the Spokane Tribe Casino Environmental Impact Statement, but that cooperation has continually been portrayed by the Tribe as a show of support. But it is imperative that this distinction be made: Neutrality does not equal support.

As longtime supporters of Fairchild Air Force Base (FAFB) GSI opposes any activity that might impair current and future missions on the base. The Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) specifically prohibits public assembly facilities (churches, libraries, theaters, resorts) in the area that the Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP) development proposes. Flight patterns are already restricted to the northwest side of the runway due to proximity to Spokane International Airport, making additional impediments to critical training missions a serious concern.

One threat in particular – the Spokane Tribe’s proposed casino mixed-use development – could greatly impact the future of FAFB, an entity that employs 5,000 Spokane County residents, services 13,000 military retirees and is responsible for an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion.

Each month approximately 2,000 planes engage in a flight pattern that takes them directly above the Tribe’s proposed development site. The mixed-use casino project presents noise, light and safety concerns that would force the alteration of flight patterns, and affect the quantity and times of flights, the amount of fuel used and the expense to fly those training missions.

FAFB has already been subject to several rounds of Base Realignment & Closure Commission (BRAC) proceedings and anticipation of a 2017 Federal sequestration will likely lead to yet another round of BRAC. Air Force leadership has repeatedly supported another BRAC, stating that they have 25% excess facility capacity which costs millions to maintain. Any measures that impede progress or threaten adaptability of the base are of very real and very serious concern.

We will continue to support the future of FAFB, but we need your help. Contact Governor Inslee’s office and urge him to reject the project.”

Steve Stevens, President & CEO of GSI
Kevin Twohig, Chair of Forward Fairchild

Contact the Governor’s Office Today:

Joby Shimomura
Chief of Staff



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