by CYNDY COLE, Sun Staff Reporter
Arizona Daily Sun
22 November 2011
Those opposed to
snowmaking with reclaimed wastewater at Arizona Snowbowl are
headed to court again soon -- locally and federally -- but a
Snowbowl owner said the ski area will keep building to prepare
for snowmaking next winter, under the presumption the business
will prevail legally.
worried about it. We're moving forward," said Eric Borowsky, a
He said crews
plan to start assembling pipeline at the ski area perhaps in
March, over the snow, to complete the $15 million snowmaking
infrastructure for use next winter.
There is no
injunction or other legal measure barring construction pending
the outcome of two more lawsuits.
HOPI TRIBE SUES
FLAGSTAFF Coconino County Superior Court Judge Joe Lodge is
slated to hear the Hopi Tribe's latest arguments against
snowmaking at 3:30 p.m. Monday, with the tribe suing the city of
the Hopi Tribe have argued that snowmaking is contrary to public
policy, infringes upon the tribe's water rights, and could harm
public health and the environment.
They also raise
a new technicality not brought before a court to date: State law
says those cities or other entities selling reclaimed water must
"reasonably preclude human contact with reclaimed water," they
wrote in legal documents.
attorneys working on behalf of the city of Flagstaff have asked
Lodge to toss out the case in a strongly worded statement.
They said the
Hopi Tribe waited too long to bring its case, lacked the legal
standing to challenge a contract between a city and a business,
and that the tribe couldn't win on any of the points.
"At some point,
litigation must come to an end. Plaintiff's decade-long quest to
stop snowmaking at Snowbowl is past that point. Despite losing
all of its legal challenges to the alleged adverse effects of
the city's contract to deliver reclaimed water to Snowbowl,
Plaintiff refuses to admit defeat," the attorneys working on
behalf of the city of Flagstaff wrote.
HEALTH RISKS ON
APPEAL The Save the Peaks Coalition and nine individuals are
headed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for oral
arguments on Jan. 9, 2012. That's when they will assert that the
U.S. Forest Service did not adequately weigh risks to human
health in approving reclaimed wastewater for use in making snow.
A previous claim
that using reclaimed wastewater to make snow violated tribal
religious freedom was denied by the full 9th Circuit and turned
down for review by the U.S. Supreme court.
A federal judge
in Arizona struck down the newer lawsuit from Save the Peaks in
December 2010. She said the plaintiffs had waited too long to
bring it and that the Forest Service had adequately investigated
the safety of using reclaimed water to make snow.
the case against the U.S. Forest Service are The Save the Peaks
Coalition, Kristin Huisinga, Clayson Benally, Sylvan Grey, Don
Fanning, Jeneda Benally, Frederica Hall, Berta Benally, Rachel
Tso and Lisa Tso.
attorney, Howard Shanker, has recently written some Navajo
lawmakers urging them not to support snowmaking with groundwater
as a source, either, saying it would undermine this case.
Cyndy Cole can
be reached at 913-8607 or at