by CYNDY COLE, Sun Staff Reporter
Arizona Daily Sun
02 July 2010
is cleared to make snow for skiing on the San Francisco Peaks,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided today.
could begin as soon as July 12, barring more legal action.
The decision on
the ski area reached President Obama’s cabinet level, with a
letter today signed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
A group of
plaintiffs already litigating the use of reclaimed water for
snowmaking at Snowbowl will seek an injunction to block any
construction, its attorney said.
supervisor of the Coconino National Forest, Earl Stewart, signed
the final document Snowbowl needed to proceed, stating the ski
area has two choices:
It could use
potable water downstream and underground from a Flagstaff
reclaimed water facility, or
It could use
reclaimed wastewater directly, which would be less costly.
Eric Borowsky said logging for new trails and installation of
pipeline for snowmaking would begin this season, although it
might not be finished in time to be operational by winter
environmental analysis would be needed for the potable water,
environmentalists are likely to disagree.
There is an
ongoing lawsuit questioning the health and safety of using only
The new water
source was an attempt by the USDA to forge a compromise more
acceptable to area tribes, who consider the use of reclaimed
wastewater a desecration of the Peaks, which they hold sacred.
The chairman of
the Hopi Tribe has said neither water source is acceptable.
Nation government has been silent on the issue, but excerpts of
some letters from its president will be published in Saturday’s
Arizona Daily Sun.