Environment | Law

Court revives Hopi Tribe's suit over wastewater at sacred site

The Hopi Tribe of Arizona will be able to pursue a lawsuit over the use of wastewater at the sacred San Francisco Peaks.

The tribe sued the city of Flagstaff for agreeing to sell wastewater that will be used to make fake snow at a snow resort within the peaks. A judge dismissed the case, saying that the tribe filed too late and that many of the issues were resolved by litigation in federal court.

The Arizona Court of Appeals, however, said the tribe met a one-year deadline to challenge the city's contract to supply wastewater. The court also said the federal court litigation involved a different "nucleus of facts" and a different set of claims than the state lawsuit

The decision means the tribe will be able to proceed on the merits. The tribe believes the use of wastewater desecrates the sacred San Francisco Peaks.

"Using waste water harms the use and enjoyment of these areas and degrades the pristine nature of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness Area," Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa said in a press release. "We look forward to presenting our environmental and public health evidence to the court.”

Earlier this year, the tribe withdrew a different lawsuit against the federal government that involved endangered species claims.

Get the Story:
Hopi finally win one on Snowbowl (The Arizona Daily Sun 4/26)

Arizona Court of Appeals Decision:
Hopi Tribe v. Flagstaff (April 25, 2013)

Related Stories:
Hopi Tribe withdraws lawsuit against wastewater at sacred site (1/9)

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