McCain backs ski resort over tribes on sacred site
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the former chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is pushing the Obama administration to approve the expansion of a ski resort in the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Arizona.

McCain says the U.S. Forest Service is taking too long to finalize plans by the Arizona Snowbowl to use reclaimed sewage to make snow in the peaks. He plans to hold up Department of Agriculture nominees until the matter is resolved.

"I find the department's conduct in this matter to be most troubling and disingenuous," McCain wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, The Washington Post reported. "It is wholly inappropriate that without any legitimate explanation the Department can claim the right to delay an approved Forest Service action upheld by the Supreme Court. Quite frankly, every public land user and Forest Service permittee should be deeply troubled by the Administration's actions."

The Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe and other tribes in the Southwest say the use of the fake snow will desecrate the peaks. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals initially sided with the tribes but went a different way after a rehearing. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case in June.

Get the Story:
Federal Eye: McCain blocking USDA nominees over Arizona snow (The Washington Post 11/23)

9th Circuit Decision:
Navajo Nation v. US Forest Service (August 8, 2008)

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation Council delays ski resort measure (10/23)
New case filed over sacred San Francisco Peaks (09/21)
Editorial: Money wins over sacred site in Arizona (06/22)
Cartoon: Real tears, fake snow at sacred site (6/19)
Editorial: Fake snow alright at sacred peaks (6/16)
Blog: No end to fight over San Francisco Peaks (6/15)
Tribes weigh next step in sacred site battle (6/9)
Supreme Court declines to hear sacred site case (6/8)
Supreme Court to consider sacred site case (6/1)
USDA official can't comment on sacred site case (4/29)
Navajo Nation seeks to resolve sacred site case (4/28)
Obama response awaited in sacred site case (3/23)
Tribes ask Supreme Court to hear sacred site case (1/6)
Tribes weigh next move in sacred site case (10/23)
Indian religious rights cases on high court's horizon (10/21)
9th Circuit delays ruling in sacred site case (10/06)
Interview: Attorney in San Francisco Peaks case (8/22)
Appeals court reverses course on sacred site (8/12)
9th Circuit issues rulings on sacred site, compacts (8/8)