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Federal court hears case on Arizona ski resort

By Terry Collins

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 9 2012 4:20 p.m. MST

Attorney Howard Shanker, foreground, speaks to reporters next to Clayson Benally, a litigant in The Save the Peaks Coalition lawsuit with the U.S. Forest Service, outside of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012. A federal appeals court heard arguments in a case that challenges the planned use of reclaimed water for snowmaking at an Arizona ski resort. The Save the Peaks Coalition and a group of citizens want the U.S. Forest Service to do a more thorough environmental analysis on the health and safety risks of using treated wastewater for artificial snow.

Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court is considering arguments that challenge the planned use of treated wastewater to make snow at an Arizona ski resort.

Attorneys for the Save the Peaks Coalition presented their appeal Monday to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. They told the court the U.S. Forest Service needs to do a more thorough analysis of the health risks.

The coalition is appealing a 2010 lower court ruling that says the Forest Service adequately considered the environmental impacts before approving the snowmaking plan at the Snowbowl resort near Flagstaff.

Government attorneys argue that the plaintiffs haven't specified what information they want in the analysis.

More than a dozen tribes consider the mountain sacred. American Indian tribes argued unsuccessfully in a separate case that the plan violated religious freedom.

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