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Senator: Still Chance to Block Tribal Casino

7 April 2005

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the Litchfield County Times: "U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-New Haven) said that although 'it isn't early' in the efforts to overturn a federal decision to grant formal tribal recognition to the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation (STN) of Kent, state and federal officials still have some cards to play in preventing another Native American gambling casino from being built in Connecticut.

"'It's been frustrating and infuriating,' the senator said of efforts by state Attorney Gen. Richard Blumenthal and federal officials to overturn the decision by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) last year to grant formal recognition to STN, which could lead to the development of a third Native American gambling casino in the state.

"The BIA, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has never had a decision overturned.

"However, Mr. Lieberman said, during an interview last week in New Milford with a group of reporters from The Litchfield County Times and Housatonic Publications, that he believes opponents of the BIA's decision have 'got a chance to break through.'

"…In particular, Mr. Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-New Britain) have said that STN doesn't meet the BIA's criteria for tribal recognition.

"…That tribe-which is located in North Stonington, near Preston-has plans to try to establish a casino in its part of the state.

"…Mr. Lieberman said that the establishment of another Native American casino in the state would probably violate the compact that was negotiated in the 1990s with the tribes that operate the two casinos in southeastern Connecticut, Foxwoods in Ledyard and Mohegan Sun in Montville…"

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