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Friday, February 25, 2011

CA AG Kamala Harris Appealing Land into Trust action in Porterville.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the local Coalition of Retailers have both appealed the decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs placing 40 acres of land near the Porterville Airport into trust.

The United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the Tule River Indian Tribe’s application on Jan. 4.

Once into trust, the 40 acres of land is converted from private title to federal title and vested to the United States of America. The land is then placed under the control of the tribal government with the U.S. government acting as fiduciary. The land also becomes exempt from state and local government taxes and local land use regulations, something several local business owners feared due to potential unfair competition.  Recall that Pechanga got 700 acres given to them because they claimed it was culturally sensitive land.   Uh, it's now a golf course.

Now, however, the placing of that land into trust is in limbo as the appeal process moves forward.

According to Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up for California, the appeal goes to the Interior Board of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. No date has been set for the appeals to be heard. And, that board’s decision could be litigated.

“This could go on for a number of years,” said Schmit, calling the state’s appeal significant. “I’m really happy with his (Gov. Jerry Brown’s) position. He recognizes the impact that the fee of trust process has on the state,” she said

Indian Gaming, BIA, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians

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