Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
SAN FRANCISCO - Today about 150 supporters of the Save the Peaks Coalition are voicing their opposition to the US Forest Service allowing reclaimed sewage waste to be used for artificial snowmaking purposes at the Snowbowl Ski Resort near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Yerba Buena Gardens Sunrise Prayer Vigil
They gathered at the Yerba Buena Gardens for a sunrise prayer vigil prior to marching two blocks to the James R. Browning United States Courthouse where the hearing was held.
Several cars made up a caravan of American Indians representing numerous tribes located near the San Francisco Peaks. Several American Indian tribes and nine individuals are plaintiffs in the court case known as the Save the Peaks Coalition versus vsUS Forest Service.
Opposition to the US Forest Service allowing reclaimed Sewage Waste to be used for Artificial Snowmaking
"Five of the nine plaintiffs are here," said Berta Benally, who was part of the caravan that left Flagstaff on Saturday to make the 1,000 mile trip. "The Navajo Nation sent a delegation; people from around the country and world are supporting us."
"Prayers were being sent at 9:30 pm when the court case was going on from all over the world," said Benally.
In 2005, the Snowbowl Ski Resort and Coconino Forest Service's expansion plan was approved for reclaimed sewage water from Flagstaff's Rio de Flag Sewage Plant for the use of snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort.
Since May 2011, owners of Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort laid seven miles of wastewater pipeline and clear-cut over 50 acres of rare alpine forest, while the issue is still being contested in court.
The case argues that under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, the Forest Service failed to adequately consider the impacts associated with ingestion of snow made from reclaimed sewer water in its federally mandated environmental review process.
posted January 9, 2011 4:30 pm est
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