August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tree Sit Halts Snowbowl Pipeline Construction

Tree-Sit Halts Pipeline Construction
Protester Demands Clean Water and Clean Snow
Contact: Ariana Sauer
Xander Vautrin
Directions to tree sit below

THURSDAY: Tree Sitter makes emergency descent due to lightning

This morning we erected a tree-sit to protect our community and our children from the City of Flagstaff’s sanctioning and use of hazardous treated sewage, which contains antibiotic resistant genes, in our public spaces. The ropes securing this tree-sit stretch across the projected path of the City of Flagstaff’s and Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort's treated sewage effluent pipeline, currently under construction on Mars Hill near Thorpe Park.
After years of construction delays, court challenges, and resistance from community members, a 14-mile sewage pipeline that Snowbowl would like to see carrying millions of gallons of treated sewage effluent yearly from the City of Flagstaff to Snowbowl is near completion. Snowmaking is scheduled to begin at the end of November, when a combination of pharmaceutical, industrial, commercial, and household discharge will be sprayed from snow machines onto the San Francisco Peaks.
“If they choose to continue construction, they must publicly account for my life among the diversity of human and non-human beings their ecocide threatens.”said James Kennedy, the NAU student who currently sits atop the more than 75ft tall ponderosa pine tree. “For the purity of our water, for the safety of our community, and for the health of a fragile alpine ecosystem, we must halt this pipeline!”
Xander Vautrin, an on the ground supporter of the tree-sit believes “The City of Flagstaff, the Forest Service, and the Snowbowl Corporation are recklessly disregarding the safety of the greater public, of wildlife, our water and our environment by refusing to consider the long-term impact of exposure to wastewater. “

Recently published research conducted on treated sewage effluent in Flagstaff has found antibiotic resistant bacteria after completion of the treatment process. Though reduced by treatment, the bacteria “dramatically rebounded at the point of use.”1This pipeline constitutes an urgent public health risk, as antibiotic resistance renders modern drugs ineffective against dangerous bacterial infections. This threatens the life of those in our community already at risk: the elderly, the sick, and the very young.
Additional research recently published in the Flagstaff Noise demonstrated a clear danger to plant life irrigated with wastewater, illustrating a serious threat to Groundsel, an endangered plant found only on the San Francisco Peaks.
“All water is connected. It is illogical and dangerous to believe that the effects of antibiotics, contraceptive hormones, industrial contaminants, and microbial pathogens —all found in Flagstaff’s treated sewage effluent—will be limited to a few runs on Snowbowl or to the Lowell Observatory grounds,” stated Derek Minnobloom another on-the-ground supporter of the tree-sit.
“Our public officials have failed all of us - not only to ensure our public safety, a clean healthy future for our water and our children - but also to protect the rights of indigenous peoples whose land we’re on,” stated Ariana Sauer, a volunteer with and a tree-sit supporter. “This action is in solidarity with the thirteen indigenous nations who hold this mountain sacred.”
We invite those of you who believe in the safety and health of our children, the sanctity of our environment, and the protection of public water to demand that:
- The City of Flagstaff rescind the wastewater contract with Snowbowl!
- An immediate moratorium on the City of Flagstaff's use of treated sewage effluent in public spaces where any person may come in contact with reclaimed wastewater, until new research and technology is available to mitigate long-term environmental & community health risks.
-The use of public water in this desert climate of Flagstaff with only a projected 25-38 years of water left for people’s consumption, should be cleaned and used for people to drink, not for a private corporation to make a profit.
-President Obama fulfill campaign promises to protect human rights and sacred sites.
—Protect People - Clean Water, Clean Snow! –
 Note to Editor and Reporter:
Interview with James Kennedy, NAU student and tree-sitter, available upon request.
High resolution video and photos available

Come show your support! Bring signs, banners, and friends! The tree sit is located just off of Mars Hill Road, on the way to Lowell Observatory. From Thorpe Park, walk up Mars Hill Road approximately 1000 feet to a dirt shoulder on your right, at the beginning of the first horseshoe curve, where boulders block access to a dirt road. Follow the dirt road 300 feet north to large (incapacitated) machinery.

IF police are present, best bet is to stay off roads, within park boundary--i.e. out of Lowell Scientific Preserve private property. Walk in trees to right of Mars Hill Rd til you come to dirt road, then follow to your right, staying on the park side of the fence.

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