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Paterson asks feds to approve Catskill casinos

May 12, 2009

MONTICELLO, NY - Gov. David Paterson has urged the new Secretary of the Interior Department approve two Indian casino projects in Sullivan County.

Last week the governor sent a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar requesting a reversal of the January decision by the last administration that rejected the St. Regis Mohawk and Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican proposals in the town of Thompson.

Paterson called former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's decision "misguided policy."

"During his tenure, Secretary Kempthorne took several actions that were not in the best interest of New York state, and this specific policy prevented critical economic development that the Legislature and the governor's office approved," said Paterson. "Sullivan County's extremely depressed economy desperately needs this kind of economic development, which will create jobs and additional investment associated with the kind of tourism industry that this policy change would create."

"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 his letter.

"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 needs."

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