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Tribe given land for preserve

TEMECULA, Calif. – The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians will add nearly 1,200 acres of real estate to its reservation.

President Bush signed a bill Oct. 10 that transferred the Riverside and San Diego County land from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, becoming Public Law No. 110-383.

The land must be used for the protection, preservation and maintenance of archaeological, cultural and wildlife resources. The building of roads is prohibited except for maintenance, according to the bill (H.R. 2963),which was refined after environmental concerns of the local community, said Fredrick Hill, press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Issa introduced the bill in July 2007.

Concerns centered on potential additional casinos in a region that already has several.

“[The city of Temecula] had concerns initially but supported it after the language was improved. In the end it was a good deal for residents and Native Americans,” Hill said.

The land transfer does not include about 12 acres that includes power transmission lines and other infrastructure.

The BLM considered the land dispensable while requiring maintenance, Hill said.

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