Staff Report

The Chumash Casino Resort was one of 13 California organizations to receive the state’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), in a ceremony Jan. 17 at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento.

The resort was recognized in the category of Waste Reduction “for dramatically reducing its waste stream and lowering recycling costs even as casino visitation increased.”

Since 2006, with the use of innovative recycling programs, the total waste stream at the Chumash Casino Resort has gone from 7.2 million pounds per year to an estimated 2.3 million pounds in 2017, while total visitation rose from 2.8 million patrons to a projected 3.75 million during the same time period.

“We are honored to be recognized by Governor Brown’s office, once again, for our efforts in waste reduction at the Chumash Casino Resort,” said Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn. “Our team members have excelled in upholding our tribe’s environmental values while maintaining our goal to become a zero waste facility by 2019.”

The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges that included the Governor’s Office and the secretaries of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency; the California Department of Food and Agriculture; California Environmental Protection Agency; the California Government Operations Agency; the California Health and Human Services Agency; the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency; the California Natural Resources Agency; and the State Transportation Agency.

In addition to the Chumash Casino Resort, the tribe also owns Hotel Corque, Root 246 and Hadsten House Inn & Spa in Solvang and two gas stations in Santa Ynez.  It employs more than 2,000 people, making it the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley.

For more information about the awards, visit