By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Sun
An Arizona tribe has the legal right to challenge the use of treated effluent to make snow — even on public lands — the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
The judges said the Hopi Tribe had made sufficient allegations that tribal members were suffering a “special injury” from the use of the reclaimed wastewater at Snowbowl. Judge Kenton Jones, writing for the unanimous panel, said the tribe should be able to make their case to a judge and jury.
But Jones stressed that he and the other two judges were not expressing any opinion on whether the claim is valid.
Thursday’s ruling is the latest twist in a fight that dates back decades, first in an unsuccessful bid to try to block the ski operation on public lands. When that failed, the Hopi along with other tribes went to federal court, making various environmental and religious freedom law claims to preclude Arizona Snowbowl from using treated effluent purchased from Flagstaff to make snow.