Monticello, NY - Governor Urges Washington to Approve Casinos, Sullivan Economy 'Depressed'
Monticello, NY - Gov. David Paterson is urging the interior secretary to approve two Indian casino projects in Sullivan County.
In a letter, Paterson urged Secretary Ken Salazar to reverse a January 2008 decision by the Bush administration rejecting the St. Regis Mohawk and Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican proposals in the Town of Thompson.
Both tribes have reached local impact deals with Sullivan County. The Stockbridge-Munsees have actively pursued their casino in Bridgeville since the decision, while the Mohawks walked away from their partner, Empire Resorts. The Mohawks have recently announced, however, that they are negotiating with Empire to reboot efforts for a casino on land next to the Monticello Gaming & Raceway.
Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne imposed a distance test, rejecting casinos too far from reservation lands and not within commutable distance by tribal members.
Paterson called Kempthorne’s decision “misguided policy.”
“In 2001, in response to the devastating economic impact of the September 11 attacks on New York State, state legislation was passed to allow up to three Class III Indian gaming facilities in the Catskills region,” Paterson wrote.
“In keeping with the intent of this legislation, the projects put forward ... would promote economic self-sufficiency for both tribes, while breathing new life into Sullivan County’s extremely depressed economy.
“The economic development potential associated with these projects is the stimulus these tribes and this area of the state desperately need,” the governor said in his letter.
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