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BIA won't commit to timeline on Mashpee Wampanoag casino

Filed Under: Casino Stalker
More on: bia, carcieri, eis, kevin washburn, land-into-trust, massachusetts, supreme court, wampanoag

This artist's rendering of proposed First Light Resort and Casino has been scrapped now that the tribe has changed architects. Image from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is still reviewing the land-into-trust application submitted by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts.

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn initially promised a decision in spring 2013. That didn't happen and now he's not saying when he will take action.

"The process takes a long time," Washburn told The Cape Cod Times. "I haven't seen all the evidence yet so I can't prejudge it."

The application -- the tribe's first -- was filed in August 2007 but the process slowed as the tribe changed gaming sites, changed gaming partners and changed leadership. The draft environmental impact statement wasn't published until November 2013.

The next step for the BIA would be the final environmental impact statement. That's usually followed by a record of decision and then the actual placing of the land in trust.

The tribe's main hurdle is the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The ruling restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.

The Mashpees didn't gain recognition until May 2007.

Get the Story:
Tribes: BIA system needs review (The Cape Cod Times 7/30)

Related Stories:
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe changes architects for casino plan (7/28)

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