Environment | Law

NYT Blog: Hopi Tribe lodges new lawsuit to protect sacred site





"Weeks before the snow guns at the Arizona Snowbowl ski area are set to begin blowing artificial snow made from sewage effluent — a focus of a 10-year legal battle — the Hopi tribe has mounted a new challenge, arguing that the plan could jeopardize the survival of a fragile plant.

Snowbowl sits on national forest land about an hour from the Grand Canyon. Before approving the resort’s snow-making plan, the United States Forest Service conducted a lengthy environmental review and concluded that the fragile alpine tundra would not be adversely affected because endangered and threatened plants would be at a safe distance from the snow guns.

The latest lawsuit, filed last week by the Hopi in federal court in Washington, contends that the review failed to account for the effect that drifting and blowing snow would have on the San Francisco groundsel, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Calling this “a critical oversight,” it seeks a federal injunction requiring the Forest Service to ensure that the wastewater snow is not used."

Get the Story:
Green: Snow, Sewage and a Fragile Alpine Plant (The New York Times 11/19)

9th Circuit Decisions:
Save the Peaks Coalition v. USFS (August 28, 2012)
Save the Peaks Coalition v. USFS (June 21, 2012)
Save The Peaks Coalition v. USFS (February 9, 2012)

Related Stories:
Hopi Tribe files lawsuit over reclaimed sewage at sacred site (11/16)
Navajo activist won't give up fight over sewage at sacred site (9/27)
Attorney in San Francisco Peaks litigation won't face sanctions (08/30)
Opinion: Indian activists not welcome by federal appeals court (6/27)
Appeals court sanctions lawyer in San Francisco Peaks litigation (6/21)
9th Circuit rejects bid to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks (02/09)
9th Circuit takes up dispute over sacred San Francisco Peaks (01/10)
9th Circuit debates dispute over sacred San Francisco Peaks (1/9)
Courts consider two lawsuits over snowmaking at sacred site (11/22)
BBC: Hopi Tribe battles reclaimed sewage at sacred peaks (10/20)
Editorial: Hopi Tribe lawsuit over fake snow seems misguided (9/1)
Earth 911: Skiing on reclaimed wastewater -- gross or green? (8/30)
Uprising: Hopi Tribe fights to keep wastewater off sacred site (8/29)
Fast Company: Hopi Tribe fights bid for fake snow at sacred site (8/25)
Hopi Tribe files lawsuit to block use of wastewater at sacred site (8/24)