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City of Flagstaff, Hopi Tribe Work Toward Settlement Of Lawsuit


The City of Flagstaff and the Hopi Tribe are working to resolve a lawsuit over selling reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl ski resort to make snow. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Hopis claim snowmaking using the reclaimed water is a public nuisance.

The suit will be delayed for at least 60 days as the two sides try to work out a settlement. The Arizona Supreme Court last year allowed the Hopi lawsuit against the City of Flagstaff to proceed. It remains the only active legal challenge against the city involving snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks.

If a resolution to the lawsuit is reached, it’ll first have to be approved by the Flagstaff City Council at a public session.

Last year, the city sued Arizona Snowbowl in order to shift legal responsibility to the resort if the Hopi Tribe prevailed with its lawsuit. That case is still ongoing.

Snowbowl’s contract to purchase reclaimed water from the city was renewed for 20 years in 2014. 

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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