February 22, 2008

Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Transfer From Fee to Trust of Parcels Owned by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York in Oneida and Madison Counties, New York

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as lead agency, with the cooperation of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York (Nation), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Madison County, New York, and Oneida County, New York as cooperating agencies, intends to file a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the requested transfer of parcels owned by the Nation to the United States in trust for the Nation, and that the FEIS is now available to the public. The subject lands are located within Oneida and Madison Counties, New York. The FEIS is part of the administrative process that evaluates tribal applications that seek to have the United States take land into trust pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 465 and 25 CFR Part 151. The purpose of the proposed action is to help provide for the Nation's cultural and social preservation, expression and identity, political self-determination, self-sufficiency, and economic growth by providing a tribal land base and homeland over which the Nation exercises tribal sovereignty.
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[Federal Register: February 22, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 36)]
[Notices]               
[Page 9823-9824]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr22fe08-93]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs

 
Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement 
for the Proposed Transfer From Fee to Trust of Parcels Owned by the 
Oneida Indian Nation of New York in Oneida and Madison Counties, New 
York

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs (BIA), as lead agency, with the cooperation of the Oneida 
Indian Nation of New York (Nation), the New York State Department of 
Environmental Conservation, Madison County, New York, and Oneida 
County, New York as cooperating agencies, intends to file a Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) for the requested transfer of parcels owned by 
the Nation to the United States in trust for the Nation, and that the 
FEIS is now available to the public. The subject lands are located 
within Oneida and Madison Counties, New York. The FEIS is part of the 
administrative process that evaluates tribal applications that seek to 
have the United States take land into trust pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 465 
and 25 CFR Part 151. The purpose of the proposed action is to help 
provide for the Nation's cultural and social preservation, expression 
and identity, political self-determination, self-sufficiency, and 
economic growth by providing a tribal land base and homeland over which 
the Nation exercises tribal sovereignty.

DATES: The Record of Decision on the proposed action will be issued on 
or after March 25, 2008. Any comments on the FEIS must arrive by March 
24, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may mail, hand carry or fax written comments to Mr. 
Franklin Keel, Regional Director, Eastern Region, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, 545 Marriott Drive, Suite 700, Nashville, Tennessee 37214, fax 
(615) 564-6701. Electronic submission is not available.
    Copies of the FEIS will be available for viewing at Web site 
www.oneidanationtrust.net and at the following locations during regular 
business hours, Monday through Friday, except holidays: (1) Oneida 
Nation Annex Building, 579A Main Street, Oneida, New York 13421 
(business hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Oneida City Hall, 109 N. Main 
Street, Downstairs Basement Room, Oneida, New York 13421; and Town of 
Verona Town Hall, 6600 Germany Road, Back Conference Room, Durhamville, 
New York 13054.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt G. Chandler, (615) 564-6832.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Nation submitted an application to the 
U.S. Department of the Interior through the BIA, requesting that the 
Secretary of the Interior take approximately 17,370 acres of land in 
Madison and Oneida Counties, New York, into trust status for the 
benefit of the Nation. The subject properties are currently owned by 
the Nation.
    The nine alternatives analyzed in the FEIS are as follows: (A) 
Proposed Action--Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3 Lands (17,370 acres), 
which is the action proposed by the Nation; (B) Phased Acquisition of 
35,000 Acres, which is based on a prior land claim settlement 
framework; (C) Group 1 and Group 2 Lands (9,903 acres); (D) Group 1 
Lands (3,428 acres); (E) Turning Stone Casino Gaming Floor Tax Lot (225 
acres); (F) Alternative Trust Land Grouping (11,986 acres), which 
includes all of the Group 1 lands and additional parcels from Groups 2 
and 3; (G) No Action (0 acres); (H) County Trust Land Alternative 
(1,026 acres), which includes 590 acres in Madison County and 436 acres 
in Oneida County that the Counties proposed for acquisition subject to 
certain conditions; and (I) Preferred Alternative (13,086 acres), which 
includes Group 1 lands and some Group 2 and Group 3 lands near the 
Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Oneida County or near the Nation's 
32-acre Territory in Madison County. The alternatives are intended to 
assist the review of the issues presented, but the Preferred 
Alternative does not necessarily reflect what the final decision will 
be, because a complete evaluation of the criteria listed in 25 CFR Part 
151 may lead to a final decision that differs from the Preferred 
Alternative and the other alternatives.
    Public participation occurred throughout the development of the 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Notice of Intent to prepare 
the EIS was published in the Federal Register on December 23, 2005 (70 
FR 76325). Public scoping meetings were held January 10, 2006, in 
Verona, New York, and January 11, 2006, in Oneida, New York, and a 30-
day public comment period was provided, all to obtain public input on 
issues and content for inclusion in the EIS. The BIA and EPA each 
published a Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS in the Federal 
Register on November 24, 2006 (71 FR 67896; 71 FR 67863). A public 
hearing on December 14, 2006 in Utica, New York, and a 45-day comment 
period were provided to receive public comments on the Draft EIS. On 
January 19, 2007, the BIA published a notice in the Federal Register 
(72 FR 2544) extending the public comment period on the Draft EIS to 
February 22, 2007, and announcing a second public hearing, which took 
place on February 6, 2007, in Verona, New York. The EPA published a 
notice of the Draft EIS comment period extension in the Federal 
Register on January 5, 2007 (72 FR 546). Additionally, the cooperating 
agencies for the EIS had a period from August 28 to September 29, 2006, 
to review and comment on a Pre-publication Draft EIS, pursuant to the 
EIS schedule appended to the cooperating agency Memorandum of 
Understanding.
    Apart from the EIS process, the State and local governments were 
afforded notice and an opportunity to comment, pursuant to 25 CFR 
151.10, on the written land-into-trust application that the Nation 
submitted to the BIA on April 5, 2005. The BIA issued letter notices on 
September 20, 2005 to the State and local governments involved.

[[Page 9824]]

Including extensions well beyond the 30 days required in 25 CFR 151.10, 
the comment period on the Group 1 and Group 2 lands ran until January 
30, 2006. The comment period on the Group 3 lands ran until March 1, 
2006.
    Also, as a courtesy, the BIA held a public informational meeting on 
the application on March 2, 2006, in Utica, New York. The BIA gave a 
presentation on the land-into-trust process, including the relationship 
of the EIS to that process, and answered audience questions at the 
meeting, but did not solicit public comments. Notice of the meeting was 
published in local newspapers.
    The FEIS addresses issues and concerns raised through public 
participation and contains written responses to letters and oral 
testimony received during the public comment period on the Draft EIS.

Public Comment Availability

    Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will be 
available for public review at the BIA address shown in the ADDRESSES 
section, during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except holidays. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you can ask in your comment to withhold your 
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

    This notice is published in accordance with section 1503.1 of the 
Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500 through 
1508) implementing the procedural requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.), 
and the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 1-6), and is in the 
exercise of authority delegated to the Assistant Secretary--Indian 
Affairs by 209 DM 8 and temporarily re-delegated to the Associate 
Deputy Secretary pursuant to Secretarial Order 3259.

    Dated: February 11, 2008.
James E. Cason,
Associate Deputy Secretary.
 [FR Doc. E8-3247 Filed 2-21-08; 8:45 am]

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