Ski resort accuses tribes of hypocrisy in sacred site flap
The owners of a ski resort that wants to use reclaimed sewage in the sacred San Francisco Peaks of Arizona says tribes are trying to put them out of business.

In a letter obtained by The Arizona Daily Sun under the Freedom of Information Act, Arizona Snowbowl owner Eric Borowsky and general manager J.R. Murray complained to the Obama administration about not being able to move forward with the snowmaking plan despite winning a lawsuit filed by the tribes. In the meantime, the tribes have been able to pursue their economic development projects, the letter said.

"As we sit in Flagstaff, we observe the Hualapai tribe construct a tourist 'Skybridge' over the Grand Canyon with no public input, the Navajo tribe building a casino 30 miles east of Flagstaff for tribal 'economic development,' the Hopi tribe win an award for a new water treatment facility that produces A+ reclaimed water, and the Apache Sunrise Ski Area make snow to ensure their business," Borowsky and Murray wrote to Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan last summer. "It appears that tribes are able to do what is necessary for their prosperity, yet these same tribes are attempting to force us out of business."

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the snowmaking could proceed over tribal objections. But the Obama administration has held up final approval in hopes of striking a compromise.

One aspect involves using a different water source -- not reclaimed sewage -- to make snow at the resort. But representatives of the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe and the Hualapai Tribe said they oppose any type of snowmaking in the peaks.

Get the Story:
Tribes: New snowmaking plan no better (The Arizona Daily Sun 3/19)

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

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