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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
|Ceremonial gathering and welcoming|
|Date||Wednesday September 13|
|Time||1:00 PM - 4:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|Yerba Buena Park|
On September 14, 2006 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California will hear arguments in a legal battle that may decide the future of American Indian religious freedom and the ecological integrity of the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain located in Northern Arizona which is held sacred by over 13 Native American nations. Tribes and environmental groups have unified to halt Arizona Snowbowl’s development plans to expand the current ski area and use treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow on the sacred Peaks.
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Save the Peaks!
Efforts to Protect Sacred Mountain Continue!
(Scroll down to read about each item)
9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear Peaks Case September 14, 2006 in San Francisco, CA
Save the Peaks Coalition Planning Caravan to San Francisco, CA for Events and Support
Candlelight Vigil planned in Flagstaff
Take Action Today!
PEAKS LEGAL BATTLE CONTINUES
On September 14, 2006 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California will hear arguments in a legal battle that may decide the future of American Indian religious freedom and the ecological integrity of the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain held sacred by over 13 Native American nations. Tribes and environmental groups have unified to halt Arizona Snowbowl’s development plans to expand the current ski area and use treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow on the sacred Peaks.
Although the plan is backed by the US Forest Service and has been allowed to go forward in a decision issued by Judge Rosenblatt of the US District Court of Arizona on January 11th 2006, Snowbowl has been forced to delay their proposed development.
Howard Shanker, representing the Navajo Nation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Yavapai-Apache Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe, Rex Tilousi, Dianna Uqualla, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Flagstaff Activist Network will argue the case against the expansion plan and use of treated sewage effluent to make snow before a three judge panel in San Francisco, CA.
In addition, presenting their case will be lawyers representing the Hopi Tribe and DNA People's Legal Services Inc. representing the Hualapai Tribe, and other tribal individuals.
The major points of the case are as follows (from Shanker’s opening statements to 9th Circuit Court):
1. Defendants Failed to Disclose and Discuss the Scientific Viewpoints
Submitted by Dr. Paul Torrence
Under NEPA, the agency is required to “disclose and discuss responsible opposing scientific viewpoints in the final statement itself.” Dr. Paul Torrence submitted an approximately 40 page treatise critical of the analysis of health and environmental impacts of using reclaimed sewer water for snowmaking included in the DEIS. The FS neither disclosed nor discussed Dr. Torrence’s viewpoints in the FEIS. The FS’s failure to “disclose and discuss” was without observance of the procedure required by law. It was also arbitrary, capricious, and/or not otherwise in accordance with law.
2. Defendants Failed to Consider the Fact That Children Might Eat Snow Made From Non-Potable Reclaimed Water
The only time that the possibility of eating snow is directly addressed in the FEIS is in the FS response to comments, which provides, in pertinent part, that, “[t]here will be signs posted at Snowbowl informing visitors of the use of reclaimed water as a snowmaking water source. . . it is the responsibility of the visitor or the minor’s guardian to avoid consuming snow made with reclaimed water. . .” ER 52. Defendants’ failure to adequately consider this impact was without observance of the procedure required by law, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and/or otherwise not in accordance with law.
3. Defendants Refused to Consider the Impacts Associated With Withdrawal of 1.5 Million Gallons a Day of Reclaimed Water That is Currently Used to Recharge the Regional Aquifer Near Flagstaff
During the winter months, approximately 1.5 million gallons a day of effluent from the Rio de Flag treatment plant is currently introduced into the Rio de Flag River to recharge the regional aquifer in Flagstaff – where it is diluted with fresh water before it percolates into the underground aquifer. The FS refused to consider the impact of this diversion in its decision making process – noting that the City of Flagstaff was free to do whatever it wanted with its wastewater. This is an “indirect effect,” a “cumulative impact,” and/or a “connected action,” the impact of which should have been thoroughly considered in the FEIS. The FS’s refusal to consider this impact is without observance of the procedure required by law, arbitrary, capricious, and/or otherwise not in accordance with law.
4. Defendants’ Approval of This Project Violates RFRA
In finding that defendants did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the lower court: (1) ignored the FS’s own findings and Ninth Circuit precedent on demonstrating a “substantial burden” in the context of a government land use decision; (2) improperly interpreted sincerely held religious beliefs; (3) improperly interpreted the requirement that RFRA decisions be made in “context;” (4) applied improper legal analyses to the “compelling interest” and “least restrictive means” components of the strict scrutiny test; and (5) made clear errors in many of its findings of fact.
If you would like to learn more about the case or read the actual court documents that Howard Shanker has filed go to http://www.shankerlaw.net or the Save the Peaks website: http://www.savethepeaks.org
CARAVAN TO SAN FRAN TO SUPPORT THE SACRED PEAKS
The Save the Peaks Coalition is planning a caravan to San Francisco, CA to support the efforts to protect the Sacred Peaks. There will be events outside the courtroom and the chance for a few to go inside the courtroom to respectfully view the proceedings. Organizations in San Francisco are working with the Coalition to make this a truly amazing experience for all peoples involved with efforts to save sacred places around the world.
If you would like to caravan from another city, please contact Rudy Preston at(928) 214-8077 or buckmanhands [at] yahoo.com.
You are invited to take part in the caravan. We already have vehicles with space for about 26 people. We are also looking for folks with their own vehicles who may want to come with. Accommodations (free and for a fee) will be available in San Francisco for all those who would like to take part.
Much of the money needed to pay for the cost of travel has already been sponsored by generous folks unable to go, but more is needed. If you would like to go, but cannot pay, call us anyway. If you would like to support the caravan call us or go to http://www.savethepeaks.org to donate to the Sacred Peaks Defense Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.
Deadline: If you would like to go on the caravan please contact us by September 4th.
Contact: Please call or e-mail Rudy Preston (928) 214-8077 or buckmanhands [at] yahoo.com to reserve your space or for more information. We would also love to hear from you if you are planning to come to San Francisco from other destinations besides Flagstaff.
Departing Flagstaff: We will be departing Flagstaff on September 12th from Macy’s parking lot. Time to be determined. Check out http://www.savethepeaks.org and sign our emailing list for updates.
San Francisco, CA Logistics & Events: Once in San Francisco we will be checking into our accommodations and relaxing until the morning of September 13th.
On September 13th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. a ceremonial gathering and welcoming of regional tribes, environmental groups and supporters of sacred sites protection, environmental justice and cultural survival will be held at Yerba Buena Park located at 3rd St. and Mission in San Francisco, CA.
An evening dinner reception and discussion on sacred sites protection and environmental justice with tribal representatives, spiritual leaders and environmental advocates will also be held from 4:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. at the American Indian Friendship House in San Francisco (56 Julian Avenue).
On September 14th in San Francisco, CA there will be a sunrise prayer gathering at 6:00 a.m. in Dolores Park (Dolores St. at 18th St.) and March to the courthouse followed by a Vigil outside of the 9th Circuit courthouse during the actual trial. There will also be limited space inside the courtroom for those interested in viewing the trial. After the court proceedings there will be a press conference on the steps of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Departing San Francisco, CA: We will be departing San Francisco for Flagstaff in the afternoon on September 14th, and arriving back in Flagstaff late in the evening.
Please help support the caravan to San Francisco by donating today!
Save the Peaks Caravan Wish List
-Van - $400 for vehicle rental
-Gas - $1,100 (for multiple vehicles, more funds can always be used for this)
- Catering for a reception on September 13th in San Francisco, CA. We need to feed approx. 250 people. Cost: $1800
- Save the Peaks Bumper Stickers! – $655 for 5,000 stickers!
- Tshirts – 2 color - $600 for 100 shirts
FLAGSTAFF, AZ CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
On September 13th at 5:30 p.m. there will be a Candlelight Vigil at Heritage Square in downtown Flagstaff, AZ to support the proceedings in San Francisco, CA and to show support for the Sacred Peaks. There will also be speakers to address the environmental and cultural impacts of the proposed expansion and wastewater snowmaking plan.
TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THE PEAKS NOW!
Support the Caravan! Check out our wish-list online and donate today!
HOST A SCREENING OF “THE SNOWBOWL EFFECT” DOCUMENTARY Indigenous Action Media is offering a limited number of free copies of the compelling 56-minute documentary to anyone who is interested in hosting a community screening. Visit http://www.savethepeaks.org/snowbowleffect to find out how you can get a DVD and film screening kit with Peaks info today!
Be part of the Save the Peaks Street Team and distribute info, put up flyers and more! Go to http://www.savethepeaks.org to download and print flyers for our events.
Write letters to editors of your local papers.
Email, write or call your favorite news outlet and urge them to cover this story.
Place a Save the Peaks web banner on your site, favorite message board, forums, or wherever you can! Find them at http://www.savethepeaks.org/banners.html
Invite members of the Save the Peaks Coalition to do a presentation about the issue in your community, at your school, place of worship, etc.
Contact your elected officials and urge them to protect the unique cultural and ecological values of the San Francisco Peaks. Call, Fax and/or Email your Elected Representatives!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 http://www.visi.com/juan/congress (Online Directory for the 108th Congress)
Urge the Flagstaff City Council to stop its sale of the wastewater to the Snowbowl for snowmaking!
City of Flagstaff Mayor and Council
E-mail: council [at] ci.flagstaff.az.us Opinion Hotline: (928) 779-7691
Telephone: (928) 779-7600
Mail: 211 W. Aspen Avenue, Flagstaff AZ 86001
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
SAVE THE PEAKS!
Visit http://www.savethepeaks.org for downloadable & flyers!
For more banners visit: http://www.savethepeaks.org/banners.html
by Indigenous Action Media Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006 at 3:19 AM