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Citizens of Ottertail County talk complications of the proposed Star Lake Casino being built too close to lake

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Ottertail County, MN (WDAY News) - Frustrations are growing for a group of concerned neighbors of the proposed Star Lake Casino in Ottertail County.

They're worried what this casino would do to the ecosystem surrounding the lake.

"Let them know how much concern there really is among the Star Lake, Dead Lake and Dent communities," said Ty Dayton, Star Lake Concerned Citizens Group.

At Tuesday morning's county commission meeting the "Star Lake Concerned Citizens Group" discussed their worries on the building of a casino on the lake.

"The rural character of Star Lake and surrounding area, we fear, will be destroyed forever," said Dayton.

The casino itself would be on South East of County Highway 41 and 380th Street, on 14 acres of White Earth Nation's 'trust land', which is on the shores of the south arm of Star Lake.

The group wants a full environmental impact statement done on the trust land and the 225 acres of 'Fee Land' where parking lots and other non-gaming amenities would go.

Dayton: "That much human pressure on the area is a major concern to what it will do in the intermediate term, maybe the short term and most definitely the long term," said Dayton.

Spokesperson for the group, Ty Dayton says the mission statement of their group is to "protect, preserve, and enhance the environment".

They are worried run-off from the casino will be detrimental to the lakes and wetlands and want an EIS before construction starts.

"I think they came to make sure they were heard about their concerns for the environment. It is a very environmentally sensitive area and they just wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to get to a government unit," said Lee Rogness, Chairman for Ottertail County Commission.

The commission says the next step is the White Earth Nation voluntarily doing an environmental assessment.

When that's finished, there will be a 30 day public comment period where the Star lake Concerned Citizens Group can once again weigh in.

Construction is expected to start this fall and the casino is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.

For the link to the Star Lake Concerned Citizens Group website, click here. For the official Star Lake Comprehensive Plan, click here

Cassandra Rohlfing

After working part time at WDAY-TV during her college career, Cassandra – who goes by Cassie, joined the WDAY news team full-time in January as an Online Editor/Weekend Producer. She switched over to Reporter/Multimedia Journalist in June and is excited to work on stories you want to see!  She was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, ND and is part Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Cassie graduated from  North Dakota State University in December of 2015 with a degree in Journalism, and an emphasis in Broadcasting. Cassie bleeds green and gold and is an avid Bison Football fan who attended every home game in her college career, thanks to being a part of the Gold Star Marching Band. Her hobbies include binge watching TV shows on Netflix, attempting to work out, and getting outside when she can. If you have any questions/story ideas feel free to email or call. 

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