Region 1: EPA New England
The Mohegan Tribe is a sovereign, federally recognized Indian Nation with a reservation on the Thames River near Uncasville, Connecticut. The town of Uncasville is named after our Sachem Uncas, a seventeenth century Chief. Like Uncas, we have been committed to good relations with our non-Indian neighbors. The Tribe exercises full civil jurisdiction and concurrent criminal jurisdiction over our lands. Our Tribe is governed by a Tribal Constitution which empowers a nine member Tribal Council to serve as the legislative and executive branch, and a seven member Council of Elders which is responsible for judicial oversight and cultural integrity. We maintain traditional titles including Chief, Medicine Woman, and Pipe Carrier. There are 1,700 Tribal members.
The sovereignty of the Mohegans was recognized by the Connecticut Colony in the Treaty of 1638, and that state recognition is maintained to this day. In 1978, the U.S. Government created a process through which the tribes could petition for federal acknowledgment. The Mohegan Nation was formally recognized on March 7, 1994. On September 30, 1995, 240 acres of the northernmost traditional Mohegan reservation lands were reacquired by the Tribe and placed in trust by the United States government. As of June 6, 2006, the Mohegan Tribe has reacquired a total of 507 acres placed into trust of which 158 acres comprise the Fort Shantok property which is a park open to the public, the site of the Mohegan Wigwam Festival in August and contains a sacred burial ground. Our Mohegan Reservation is located on the western bank of the Thames River, adjacent to the village of Uncasville in the town of Montville, Connecticut.
Programs and Accomplishments
Even before the beginning of our Mohegan Sun casino resort, the Tribe has been dedicated to treading lightly on mother earth. This ethic has been an over reaching rule governing every thing we do. With the completion of the Casino of the Earth, several new initiatives were launched. Every casino employee receives environmental health and safety training, helping them recognize the important issues and the reasoning behind those rules. In compliance with our solid waste management plan, a comprehensive recycling program was implemented which recycles paper, plastic, cans and bottles, wood and metal from the gaming facility. The Mohegan owned restaurants and employee cafeteria recover meat, rice and vegetable food scraps, which are then used as animal fodder at Millaras Piggery and Country Gardens located in Waterford, CT. In addition, the waste grease and fryolator oil from the restaurants kitchens is recovered and used as an animal feedstock constituent by a Massachusetts company. We also use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel to power our fleet of buses which move employees from employee parking areas to the gaming facility. Completion of a 30-story hotel and convention center and new gaming facility "Casino of the Sky" featuring a 10,000 seat arena for concert performances and numerous restaurants and retail shops has increased our work force to over 10,000 employees. The new “Casino of the Wind” and Project Horizon expansion is expected to add 1,500 more jobs.
The Tribe has been very aggressive in developing energy conservation initiatives starting with the installation of two fuel cells in March of 2002 to offset electrical usage from the grid and as a source of thermal energy for both domestic hot water for Earth Casino and as boiler make up water for the Central Plant. Through an agreement with Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection we have a public outreach program to educate people about alternative energy options. The fuel cells do not give off any harmful emissions except for a small amount of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas). To offset the carbon dioxide emitted from the fuel cells as well as still existing boilers, the Tribe purchased two 50 acre plots in Costa Rica through a program called "Reforest the Tropics"” for sequestering an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide which is stored in these fast growing klinki, caoba and deglupta trees.
Our Tribal Child Development Center uses ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling the building and our Fort Shantok restroom facility is solar powered with back up battery storage for cloudy days making it an energy independent facility. The Tribal Protective Services Department currently has nine hybrid/electric vehicles and 20 Trek mountain bikes for security patrols to lessen our fossil fuel dependence and usage. Our hotel and gaming facilities are all equipped with the latest energy conservation devices and most of our parking garages have been converted from HID lighting to T8 fluorescents.
In 2001, the Tribe submitted our application for Treatment as a State (TAS) for the nation's first Tribal Implementation Plan (TIP) which will make the Tribe fully responsible for administering and enforcing elements of the Clean Air Act Program. EPA New England approved our TAS application on December 29, 2006 and published the TIP in the Federal Register on November 14, 2007 and it became effective on December 14, 2007.
Future DevelopmentsThe Mohegan Tribe looks forward to further development of Mohegan Sun with the co-operation of EPA New England.
In June of 2007, Mohegan Sun broke ground on Project Horizon. The $925 million expansion will add a 922-room, 39-story hotel with a 20,000 sq. ft. spa ; 115,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space; and 64,000 sq. ft. of gaming space. The expansion also calls for the addition of a parking garage with a capacity of 3,250 cars. The House of Blues will contain a 1500-seat Music Hall, 261 specially-themed rooms in the new hotel; and a private members-only Foundation room within the new hotel. The new Casino of the Wind gaming area, along with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant, will open in the early fall of 2008, while the new hotel is expected to open in 2010.
The first element of Project Horizon – Sunrise Square – opened in August 2007. The Asian-themed area is located in the pre-existing Casino of the Earth. It includes a 12,000 sq. ft. gaming area; 4,000 sq. ft. Hong Kong style food court; a 1,000 sq. ft. retail outlet; and a 5,000 sq. ft. bus lobby.
The Project Horizon expansion also includes the enlargement and improvement of the Trading Cove parking lot. The design will redirect the discharge of storm water runoff from entering the Trading Cove water body to a newly-created retention basin. The basin will prevent bank erosion and sedimentation, and also protect sensitive egg-laying fish species, such as winter flounder.
In April of 2007, the Tribal Government broke ground on a new Tribal Government Center, near the site of its current temporary headquarters on Crow Hill Road in Uncasville. The new four-story structure will house the various departments of the Tribal Government and also contain a community center which will include a recreation and practice center for the Connecticut Sun. Forested walking trails will be located nearby.