USDA backs snowmaking plan for sacred San Francisco Peaks
The Department of Agriculture approved the use of reclaimed waste water to make snow in the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Arizona.

Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Arizona Snowbowl could go ahead and break ground on an expansion within the Coconino National Forest. The ski resort expects to start work next week as a lawsuit against the project is scheduled to go to court.

"At the least, they should have had the courtesy of providing us prior notice instead of keeping it behind closed doors and issuing it on the afternoon of the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend," attorney Howard Shanker told The Arizona Daily Sun.

The Save the Peaks Coalition and local residents say the USDA failed to consider all the health impacts of the project. They are concerned humans might ingest snow made from the waste water.

The Obama administration tried to negotiate a compromise that would require the use of a different water source for the project. But the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe and the Hualapai Tribe said they oppose any type of snowmaking in the peaks.

Get the Story:
Snowmaking gets green light (The Arizona Daily Sun 7/3)

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

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