March 13, 2007

Ski resort vs. Native religion

U.S. court backs native tribes on sacred mountainAn Arizona ski resort's plan to use treated sewage to make snow on a mountain sacred to several Native American tribes violates religious freedom laws, a U.S appeals court ruled on Monday.

The decision on Arizona Snowbowl was a victory for Native American tribes after years of setbacks in their fight to bar the resort from using waste water on the federally owned mountain 150 miles north of Phoenix.
No fake snow at Snowbowl, court rulesOperators of the Arizona Snowbowl can't use treated wastewater to make snow, a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a decision that found the procedure would have violated the religious freedom of Navajos and a dozen other American Indian tribes.

The 777-acre resort north of Flagstaff wanted to add a fifth chair lift, spray man-made snow and clear about 100 acres of forest to extend the ski season on the western flank of the San Francisco Peaks that have spiritual and religious significance to 13 Southwest tribes.
Fake snow out for SnowbowlA federal appeals court on Monday struck down a lower-court decision that would have allowed the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff to use treated sewage water to make artificial snow to prolong its season.

The 68-year-old ski resort in the San Francisco Peaks, just outside Flagstaff, is popular among Arizonans and generates about $10 million a year for the Flagstaff economy. But, in recent years, the resort has had less-than-average snowfall and wanted to pipe in the reclaimed water to be able to stay open in dry winters.

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