High Stakes in Snowbowl Snowmaking Battle

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SAM Magazine-Flagstaff, Ariz., April 4, 2007-The battle over snowmaking continues at Arizona Snowbowl, where resort operators have proposed to use reclaimed water to make snow. A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturned a previous decision that would have allowed Snowbowl to move forward with its upgrade proposal. The Court's decision could have a much greater impact on land use in the west than merely forcing local skiers to buy out local P-tex stocks during lean snow years.

"Environmental groups and Native American tribes are using the ruling to further protect sacred sites, which may impact access and thousands of outdoor users' ability to enjoy our National Forests and National Parks," said Arizona Snowbowl spokesman Dave Smith. There are more than 50,000 sacred sites in the U.S., he noted.

Smith added, "If the Arizona Snowbowl becomes the precedent-setting case and the decision is not overturned, then any landscape claimed sacred or where future proposals are said to impact religious practice, future access and use of land could be jeopardized." He appealed for support from industry and the public to have this decision appealed by the Federal Government and overturned.

"The widespread use of reclaimed water in the southwest is also being challenged as a result of the 9th Circuit ruling. This could seriously hamper the current and future uses of reclaimed water, which is used and promoted throughout Arizona and other states as a prudent resource management practice," said Smith.

He concluded, "The Department of Justice must file an appeal and vigorously seek further judicial review to overturn the decision."