BOSTON, MA - Gov. Deval Patrick sent a formal letter to the Bureau of Indian
Affairs (BIA) opposing the plans of the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe to build
a $1 billion casino in Middleborough.
The BIA previously asked the Commonwealth for comments by today regarding the tribe's application to place 500 acres of land into trust with the federal government. If the trust is granted, the land will be sovereign and eligible for a casino under the National Indian Gaming Act.
The governor's letter stated: "Because the placement of lands in trust may exempt certain activities on those lands from state and local laws, there are significant jurisdictional concerns at the state level."
It accused the tribe of failing to meet the requirements of the BIA criteria, and the plan fails to properly address concerns for the environment, labor, and public health.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman, Shawn Hendricks, responded to the letter with a written statement: "We have clearly stated our reasons for sovereign land, and the governor has clearly stated his questions and concerns for the Commonwealth. We look forward to working through the issues raised with him, and I am confident we can do so."
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