Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Appeals court rules to protect sacred peaks

[Source: Indian Country Today] -- On March 12, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling to protect the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain held holy by more than 13 Native nations. The slopes of the Peaks, located in northern Arizona, have been at the center of a lengthy battle that has pitted economic interests on public lands against environmental integrity, public health and cultural survival. Arizona Snowbowl, a local ski resort, planned to expand and use treated waste effluent to make snow.

An appeals court panel issued the unanimous decision, which was written by Judge William Fletcher: ''We reverse the decision of the district court in part. We hold that the Forest Service's approval of the Snowbowl's use of recycled sewage effluent to make artificial snow on the San Francisco Peaks violates [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act], and that in one respect the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared in this case does not comply with [the National Environmental Policy Act].''

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo by Charles Seiverd.]