Joe Anderson, the wildly successful Tuscarora businessman and Niagara Falls real estate developer commonly known as “Smokin Joe”, could become a Chief of the Tuscarora Nation in the next few years. If he does become Chief, he expects that Rep. Brian Higgins will “reopen” the 2008 federal relicensing of the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, he told The Chronicle.
Anderson is a regular political contributor locally and has supported Higgins in the past — despite Higgins’ sponsorship of the federal PACT Act, seen in many circles as an egregious assault on tribal communities — one that eliminated more than 300 on-territory jobs overnight.
Higgins is widely credited for creating the Greenway Fund, which uses profits from the Niagara Power Project for parkscape improvements along the Niagara River. The Tuscaroras — upon who’s sovereign land the Niagara Power Project sits — accepted a poorly negotiated deal that has never meaningfully benefited the Tuscarora people.
It’s unclear what additional concessions Higgins has privately committed to Anderson beyond creating an opportunity to renegotiate the Nation’s relationship with NYPA through the federal licensing process.