10.29.13

SCHUMER, IN A PERSONAL CALL TO ASSISTANT SECRETARY WASHBURN, URGES FED BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS TO MEET WITH LOCAL SENECA CAYUGA COUNTY OFFICIALS TO EXPLAIN STATUS OF CAYUGA TRIBES LAND-INTO-TRUST APPLICATION AFTER DISMISSAL IN 2011, APPLICATION IS REPORTEDLY BEING RECONSIDERED WITHOUT LOCAL INPUT OR NOTIFICATION

brSchumer Calls on Bureau of Indian Affairs To Host Meeting in DC to Update Locals on the Status of Cayuga Application After Objections from Schumer and Locals, the Application Was Rejected, But Now Application is Reportedly Being ReconsideredbrbrCommunities Have Not Had Any Notice of Re-Application and No Opportunity to Review or Comment on Application Schumer Urges BIA to Provide Immediate Update on the Status of the Application at Meeting With LocalsbrbrSchumer: Seneca and Cayuga Counties H

U. S. Senator Schumer announced today that, in a personal call to Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, he is pushing the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to hold a meeting in his Washington D.C. office with local officials from Cayuga and Seneca Counties to update them on the status of the Cayuga Indian Nation's landintotrust application. Schumer has opposed the tribe's application to place approximately 125 acres of land into trust, and their last application was dismissed in 2011.  Now, the tribe has reportedly reapplied, but there has been no notification of, or input from, the local communities who would be impacted by the landintotrust agreement.  The tribe's leadership has said that the Eastern Region of the BIA had favorably completed its review of the trust application, however the local communities have not received any communication about this from the BIA.

 

Schumer has previously noted that approval of this landintotrust would harm local governments and economic development in the Finger Lakes and Central New York region because the surrounding counties and localities would lose out on tax revenue, and that further, the checkerboard nature of the parcels to be taken into trust creates enormous challenges for jurisdictional management and inconsistent zoning and tax rules.

 

"Communities across Cayuga and Seneca counties have not agreed to or even reviewed this latest landintotrust bid, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs must update them post haste on the status of the Cayuga Nation's application and what they can do to impact the process. The application was reportedly reinstated, without local notification or input, and should not move forward one inch until the BIA can brief the local officials about what is, in fact, in the application, how the process will play out, and what they can do to impact the outcome," said Schumer.  "Because the local communities and impacted counties did not support this effort, I have opposed such landintotrust agreements in the past, including a past bid by the Cayuga, because it would harm Upstate New York's local tax base, its businesses and its future economic development. At the very least, the communities impacted by such an agreement need to know the status of the application and have every opportunity to have their voice heard in the process, and I made it crystal clear to BIA that they ought to comply with that request as soon as possible."

 

Schumer explained that local communities, as well as the governments of Seneca and Cayuga Counties, were concerned about the status and contents of the application, which was reportedly reinstated this year and forwarded to the federal BIA without prior notification of local groups. Schumer has long held the position that any landintotrust application must secure local support.

 

With regard to their previous applications, Schumer has expressed concern that the tribe's bid for approximately 125 acres of landintotrust would have detrimental economic consequences for local businesses that would have to compete with taxfree businesses on neighboring trust land. Additionally, Schumer emphasized the unequal playing field that can result from the fact that trust land would be exempt from most local zoning strictures, even while the removal of land from lcal tax rolls created a dimunition in local taxes received.

 

The Cayuga Indian Nation has recently reapplied to the federal government for an approximately 125 acre landtrust in Cayuga and Seneca Counties. Recently, the tribe has reopened a Class II bingo parlor on the land it proposes to take into trust.  A similar request for landintotrust by the Cayuga Indian Nation was dismissed in 2011 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Approval of this request would result in the land being taxexempt, costing the local community thousands of dollars in revenue annually. Schumer stressed that it is the responsibility of the BIA to communicate with the local community and then take into consideration the needs of the local community when considering any application.



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