Arizona Supreme Court deals setback to Hopis in Snowbowl effluent dispute

Arizona Snowbowl: In this December 2011 file photo, chairlifts at the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff carry skiers uphill./Arizona Daily Sun

 

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Supreme Court has squashed what could be the last legal maneuver to block the use of treated effluent by the Snowbowl ski resort to make snow on the San Francisco Peaks.

In a 5-2 ruling Thursday, the majority concluded the Hopi Tribe has no right to file a claim the practice creates a “special nuisance” because it interferes with the ability of tribal members to practice their sacred rituals on the mountains north of Flagstaff.

The majority said the effect of claimed environmental damages on tribal members is no greater than those suffered by other members of the general public who use the land. And the justices said only those with a specific interest in the land, whether by virtue of ownership or financial impact, are entitled to bring such “special nuisance” claims under Arizona law.

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