Opponents of Snowmaking Appeal to Federal Court

Jan 9, 2012

 More than 100 opponents of snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks marched to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco Monday.

That’s where attorneys for the Save the Peaks Coalition were appealing a lower court decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to grant a snowmaking permit for Arizona Snowbowl.

The coalition is made up of Native American tribes and environmental groups. The Peaks are sacred to 13 tribes.

The Coalition argues that in its environmental assessment, the Forest Service should have evaluated the health and safety effects of ingesting snow made of wastewater.

“Wastewater contains things like antibiotics and steroids, even veterinary medicines, anything people will flush down the sink or the toilet,” said Howard Shanker, an attorney for Save the Peaks.

Arizona Snowbowl argues that reclaimed wastewater is already used to irrigate parks and schools in Flagstaff. Supporters say snowmaking will increase tourism and help the local economy.

No word yet on when the three-judge panel of the appeals court will issue its ruling.