Hopi drop lawsuit to protect Groundsel
By CYNDY COLE Sun Staff Reporter
The Hopi Tribe has withdrawn its lawsuit challenging snowmaking with reclaimed wastewater at Arizona Snowbowl.
The suit was filed on grounds that reclaimed wastewater may harm a threatened plant. Unless the tribe files a new lawsuit in federal court – and the Hopi chairman was mum on his plans midday today – this means there are currently no lawsuits challenging development at Snowbowl.
Snowbowl fought the Hopi lawsuit on a couple technicalities, and argued that the tribe could have brought its complaint years ago.
The tribe didn't wait a required 60 days to file suit after giving notice, as required under the Endangered Species Act, and it didn't specifically spell out how tribal members would be harmed if the San Francisco Peaks ragwort, or groundsel, is affected by snowmaking, an attorney for Snowbowl wrote to a federal judge in the District of Columbia.
The tribe's attorney, Michael Goodstein, withdrew the tribe's suit late last week.
Snowbowl began making snow with reclaimed wastewater at the beginning of this week and proposes to use it later this season if snowpack declines.