Tribe's gas pumps tested
By The Citizen
The gasoline pumps at the Cayuga Indian Nation's Lake Side Trading convenience store in Union Springs now have Cayuga County's seal of approval.
After a few weeks of talks following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said Indian-owned land is not automatically sovereign, the county's weights and measures inspector spent three and half hours at the station Friday testing equipment.
County officials believe the decision last month in the city of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation case gave them authority to test the pumps, just as they could any other business. But tribal officials continue to insist the land is sovereign, and they've applied to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to put their holdings in a trust to ensure that status.
Both sides agreed to the inspection on Friday on the condition that each side is not giving up future legal claims.
"They are not giving up their claim to sovereign rights, and we did not agree that they have those rights," county Legislature Chairman Herb Marshall said.
The Cayugas initially wanted to have its own inspectors review the pumps while the county's inspector observed, but the county insisted on doing its own testing, Marshall said.
Both Marshall and Daniel French, an attorney representing the Cayugas in the matter, said the testing took place without incident.
"It was a culmination of a cooperative agreement between the
nation and the county," French said. "We're pleased that it worked out well."
Marshall went to the station with the county inspectors, he said, to make sure things went smoothly.
He did say the inspector found two minor problems
with the pumps, which were both corrected immediately.
In one case, a pump nozzle was not turning off properly
. In the other, a pump was giving customers too much gasoline for their dollar