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US Agency Extends Comment Period On Tribal Rules

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File Photo: A parking sign reading "Reserved For Tribal Elders" stands outside the $193 million Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center November 21, 2002 in Mashantucket, Connecticut. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

File Photo: A parking sign reading “Reserved For Tribal Elders” stands outside the $193 million Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center November 21, 2002 in Mashantucket, Connecticut. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Interior Department is extending the period for people to comment on proposed changes to the rules for granting federal recognition to American Indian tribes, citing significant public interest in the matter.

Kevin Washburn, an assistant secretary with the department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, announced Friday the comment period has been extended by 60 days.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen was among those seeking an extension. Despite changes made to the proposed rules, Jepsen’s office claims they’ll still have “serious consequences for Connecticut,” making it easier for groups petitioning for federal recognition to gain the acknowledgement.

The BIA is also adding more consultations with tribes and public meetings.

The existing regulations overseeing the federal recognition of tribes were originally adopted in 1978. They’ve been updated once in 20 years.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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