Tuesday, May 1, 2007


The clock has run out for the Oneida Nation and the state of New York.

The federal government will reconsider its approval of Turning Stone casino in June now that the state and Oneida Indian Nation have missed a deadline to stall the decision.

Monday was the last day for the state and Oneida nation to submit a joint request to postpone the reconsideration while they negotiate a new casino agreement. Without that joint request, the Department of Interior will now decide by June 14 whether to nullify its approval of the 1993 agreement that allowed Turning Stone to open.

The state and nation wrote separate letters Monday to the secretary of the interior. Both argued, in vastly different ways, that the agency had no power to reconsider the agreement, or compact. The nation said the agreement is valid and can't be revisited 14 years after it was first approved. The state argued that the Interior Department can't reconsider an agreement because it was never valid in the first place because it was not ratified by the state Legislature.

As Gov. Spitzer might put it, "Day one, everything changes. Except for the stuff that doesn't."