I’m a little behind in my news, but the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is reportedly close to deciding the Cayuga Indian Nation’s request to place about 125 acres in Cayuga and Seneca counties into trust.
These kinds of decisions are controversial because the land then becomes part of the Tribe’s sovereign territory and free of state tax and regulatory control.
BIA made available copies of the Cayagu Nation’s draft environmental statement on the land trust application.
A newspaper stated that: “If the Cayugas are granted the trust land they plan to reopen their temporarily closed Class II video gambling facilities in Union Springs and Seneca Falls, according to the nation’s draft environmental statement. The nation also plans to continue selling tax-free cigarettes at the LakeSide Trading stores in those two towns.
The counties and the state of New York have fought the Cayugas’ bid to take the land into trust. They claim that decision will erode the local tax base and drive competing merchants out of business. The Cayugas already own more than 1,100 acres in both counties.
The nation started the trust application process in April 2005. The approximately 125 acres comprises part of the nation’s ancestral homeland around the north end of Cayuga Lake.