FRESNO — North Fork Mono Rancheria Indians passed another milestone Wednesday in getting their Madera-area casino approved.
Gov. Jerry Brown approved a compact that will allow construction of California's first off-reservation casino on 305 acres north of Madera.
The governor's approval comes on the heels of last week's state Senate approval of the compact.
The federal Department of the Interior, which helped negotiate the compact, also must approve it in a final action expected early next year.
Several lawsuits have been filed about environmental concerns and the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians is contesting the designation of the Madera area being ancestral homeland for the North Fork Mono Indians.
The Madera casino and resort, proposed near Avenue 17 and Highway 99, is 36 miles from the North Fork Rancheria.