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County Seeks Halt of Casino Site Demolition

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Erie County is taking administrative action to halt construction of a Seneca Nation of Indians casino downtown.

County Executive Joel Giambra says his administration has issued a cease and desist order to stop demolition work at the site, saying it poses a possible health threat. Giambra says the old grain elevator complex contains asbestos and other dangerous pollutants that could be released into the air.

Despite the county order, work continued at the site late Monday afternoon. Giambra says he is hoping the courts will back up the county's actions.

"There's a serious danger to the public's health, especially for those residents who live near the facility," Giambra said. "Obviously, we're hoping the courts will issue decisions soon."

Giambra says an environmental impact study should be done. But the Senecas have long said the land where the casino is being built is now sovereign territory and is not subject to local government control.