Press Release — House Committee Takes Up Job-Killing Bill on West Valley Resort
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Today, Representative Paul Gosar pushed job-killing legislation through the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources that attempts to halt construction of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s West Valley Resort and Casino. If this bill passes, more than 1,300 individuals working on the project will lose their jobs and more than 50 construction companies will lose their contracts.
The legislation is the result of an aggressive lobbying campaign by two East Valley tribes seeking to protect their own market share. Despite failing to gain passage in the last two Congresses, opponents have already spent over $14 million on lobbyists and are trying again this year despite the fact that it will put hundreds of people out of work.
After winning 16 straight legal and administrative decisions on this issue, construction of the West Valley Resort is well underway. More than 1,300 workers have been contracted to build the first phase of the facility, which is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Once operational, the first phase will create 500 permanent jobs in the West Valley. A multi-year build-out will follow, creating thousands of more construction jobs and ultimately more than 3,000 permanent jobs.
If passed into law, H.R. 308 would result in the immediate loss of construction jobs and prevent the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars in positive economic impacts for the West Valley. The bill could also leave the federal government potentially liable for the economic losses suffered by the Nation as a result of this unilateral rewriting of a 29-year-old settlement agreement.
Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “Everyone knows that this job-killing bill would benefit a few wealthy special interests out to protect their market share, at the expense of the West Valley and the entire state of Arizona. The Nation will continue to fight this damaging legislation as we move forward with creating jobs and economic opportunity in the West Valley.”
The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. The West Valley Resort is located on the Nation’s reservation land at 95th and Northern avenues. It will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact.
Editor’s Note: Below is a photo of construction on the project, which is well underway.