Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 20, 2010

Federal court to hear arguments on sewage snowmaking on sacred San Francisco Peaks

Contact: Klee Benally

UPDATE: Save the Peaks District Court Oral Arguments Rescheduled for July 16th

PHOENIX -- An Arizona District Court has rescheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the proposed use of treated sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks located in northern Arizona. The oral arguments have been moved from June 14th and rescheduled to be heard at 2:30 PM, Friday, July 16th, 2010 in the United States District Court before the Honorable Mary H. Murguia in Phoenix, Arizona.

The court stated that it is, "directing the Parties to provide supplemental briefing on the issue whether this lawsuit is barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion or res judicata."

"Res judicata is a legal doctrine that limits the ability of certain plaintiffs to bring cases that have already been heard" said Howard Shanker, attorney for the Save the Peaks Coalition and other plaintiffs. "In this case, the court has not heard this issue and the relationships, if any, of plaintiffs to prior litigants is not the type that would preclude this action in any event."

This case addresses whether or not a private, for-profit business, Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership (ASR), which operates on public land managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS), will be permitted to make fake snow using treated sewage water.

The case is known as The Save the Peaks Coalition, et al. v. U.S. Forest Service. The suit asserts, among other things, that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) prepared by the USFS ignores the possibility of human ingestion of snow made from treated sewage effluent.

Volunteer supporters of the Save the Peaks Coalition are organizing a caravan from northern Arizona, and rally and march at the Sandra Day O'Conner Federal Court House in Phoenix for July 16th.

For a full background, legal documents, photos, and further information on the Save the Peaks Coalition please visit:

No comments: