Snowbowl Can Start Snowmaking Construction July 12 

by CYNDY COLE, Sun Staff Reporter
Arizona Daily Sun
02 July 2010
  

Arizona Snowbowl is cleared to make snow for skiing on the San Francisco Peaks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided today.

Construction 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.

The new 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.

Snowbowl owner 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 2010-2011.

No new environmental analysis would be needed for the potable water, Stewart stated.

But environmentalists are likely to disagree.

There is an ongoing lawsuit questioning the health and safety of using only reclaimed water.

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.

The Navajo 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.

  

    


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