City council won't sell drinking water for ski resort at sacred site
The city council in Flagstaff, Arizona, voted 5-2 against selling drinking water to a ski resort in the sacred San Francisco Peaks.

The vote means the city's original contract to sell reclaimed sewage to the Arizona Snowbowl remains in place. Tribes and tribal activists oppose the use of the wastewater to make snow at the sacred site.

Tribes sued to prevent the U.S. Forest Service from approving the snowmaking plan. The resort is located within the Coconino National Forest.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals killed the lawsuit and said the Navajo Nation and other tribes failed to show how their religious rights would be violated by the plan.

The Save the Peaks Coalition and local residents stepped in with another lawsuit that questions the health and safety impacts of using wastewater at the site. The drinking water option -- which was proposed by the Obama administration as a compromise -- could have made the case moot.

The city council might reconsider its vote on drinking water if the lawsuit goes against the tribal activists. But appeals are likely regardless of the decision.

Get the Story:
No drinking water for Snowbowl (The Arizona Daily Sun 9/3)
Native Americans Continue Fight To Block Snowmaking At Arizona Snowbowl (OnTheSnow.Com 9/3)
Flagstaff Sticks with Treated Wastewater for Snow (AP 9/2)

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

Related Stories:
City considers sale of water to ski resort in San Francisco Peaks (8/31)
USDA wants ski resort at sacred site to use different water source (8/30)
City moves closer to selling water for snow in San Francisco Peaks (07/30)
Lawsuit over snowmaking in sacred San Francisco Peaks in court (7/21)
Wells Mahkee: No snowmaking in the sacred San Francisco Peaks (7/19)
Opinion: Save the sacred San Francisco Peaks from destruction (07/12)
Expansion of ski resort at sacred San Francisco Peaks delayed (7/9)
USDA backs snowmaking plan for sacred San Francisco Peaks (7/6)
USDA expected to back snowmaking at San Francisco Peaks (5/21)
Ski resort accuses tribes of hypocrisy in sacred site flap (3/19)
Obama administration eyes compromise on sacred site (3/9)
McCain backs ski resort over tribes on sacred site (11/24)
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)