A plan for a local ski resort to use treated wastewater for snowmaking has been rejected by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the plan will pollute the sites and violate Native American rights under the Religious Restoration Act of 1993, a March 13 story in The Arizona Republic reported.
The Arizona Snowbowl has been seeking approval to use recycled water for snow for over a year; last January a federal district court ruled against Indian tribes opposing the plan. The tribes appealed and presented their case to the Court of Appeals last September, the story said.
The tribes believe the recycled water would be harmful to the mountain's deities and that the treated water could come from mortuaries, according to the story.
Judge William A. Fletcher wrote in the court decision: "To get some sense of equivalence, it may be useful to imagine the effect on Christian beliefs and practices — and the imposition that Christians would experience — if the government were to require that baptisms be carried out with 'reclaimed water," the story reported.
The ski mountain's owner, Eric Borowsky, said, "Snowbowl intends to vigorously pursue further judicial review."