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Artman clarifies tribal casino approval process

3 March 2008

PORTLAND, Oregon -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- In testimony before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, February 27, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Carl Artman clarified the role that distance from a Tribe's reservation would play in the approval process for a new casino.

In an exchange with committee member Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Artman said that the "distance a proposed trust gaming parcel is from a Tribe's reservation is only one factor among many other factors in the Bureau of Indian Affairs' determination whether to take the parcel into trust ... distance by itself is not a determinative issue."

This clarification undercuts the credibility of the assertion from the "Committee for Oregon's Future" that the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs' proposal for a casino at Cascade Locks is too far away from the reservation to be accepted by the Department of the Interior.

"A special interest political coalition, led by Dan Lavey and consisting mainly of tavern owners with gambling devices, right wing churches, and the Grand Ronde Tribe's Spirit Mountain Casino, is using deceptive campaign tactics to avoid addressing the clear message of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: that Cascade Locks is the best alternative for the Warm Springs Tribe, Columbia River communities and all Oregonians," said Len Bergstein, spokesperson for the project, of Lavey's Committee for Oregon's Future. "These are the same tactics that landed disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in prison, and it's time for organizers of the Committee For Oregon's Future to denounce and reject this campaign of deception."

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