Monday, April 09, 2007

Cutting through red tape (April 8, 2007)

Cutting through red tape (April 8, 2007):
Cutting through red tape
Several hurdles must be cleared before an Indian-owned casino can be built:
1) Federal recognition. The right to build a casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 applies only to federally recognized tribes.
2) Federally recognized tribes must acquire what the federal government defines as ''Indian lands.”
3) Indian land must be taken into trust by the federal government at the request of tribal applicants. That process is overseen by the Department of Interior and requires the tribal applicant to submit a detailed plan describing how the tribe plans to use the land.
A Government Accountability Office study last year found the Department of Interior takes an average of a year or more to process land-into-trust applications. In one case, it took the federal agency 19 years to process an application, the study found.
As of September 2005, there were 28 off-reservation applications waiting an average of 1.4 years to be processed. There were also 34 appeals filed, taking an average of three years before a decision was rendered."
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