November 25, 2009

Forest Service seeks Snowbowl solution

Feds acknowledge withholding permits for Snowbowl

By Felicia FonsecaThe U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday it was withholding snowmaking permits for a northern Arizona ski resort as a way to promote settlement talks in a long-running dispute between American Indian tribes and the resort's owners.

The permits were delayed despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that upheld the Arizona Snowbowl's right to spray man-made snow on San Francisco Peaks.
And:The stalemate marks the latest development in the dispute in which tribes insist making snow with wastewater would desecrate land they hold sacred and infringe on their religious beliefs.

Snowbowl officials counter the man-made snow is necessary to ensure the survival of the ski area, which opened in 1937 on Forest Service land and has struggled with short seasons because of a lack of snow.
Comment:  The article also notes that Sen. John McCain is demanding that the Forest Service act for the snowmakers against the tribes. So much for his claims of being pro-Indian.

The US Forest Service is part of the USDA, where I spoke in early November. This is a good example of how the USDA is involved in Native issues.

In fact, I'm a bit surprised the Forest Service is taking the tribes' side by stalling the permits. Usually the feds are gungho to develop the land at the expense of Indians.

For more on the subject, see Sewage Water as Holy Water and Court Rules Against Native Religion.

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