WASHINGTON, D.C. – After weeks of pressing the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for answers regarding the legality of land lease that is being used to pursue a Kialegee Tribal Town casino in Broken Arrow, Okla., U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today praised a letter from BIA raising questions and concerns about the lease. Inhofe also warned that continued activity that ignores the BIA’s position would amount to trespassing on federal property.
“From the very start, my belief was that a foundational issue regarding the development of this land rested in the legality of any purported lease,” said Inhofe. “Since that time, Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt has pursued legal action based on the lease issue, and now, the BIA has finally weighed in with their concerns about a supposed lease for that land. The questions and concerns that the BIA has raised are the very same issues I have been pressing them on now for weeks. I do not believe the BIA would have acted without that pressure.”
Inhofe continued, “As the BIA has stated, a lease ‘must be submitted for review and approval by BIA.’ They also have noted that no lease has yet been submitted to the agency. Those seeking to develop the land seem defiant against the legal issues raised about the lease and use of the land. They seem to be planning to continue development without regard for the BIA’s authority. I would caution them that doing so before these legal matters are ironed out would place them in direct violation of the law and would amount to trespassing on federal property. I believe all relevant authorities should enforce these laws to the fullest extent possible.”