Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yellow Snow

At one time in your young life, no doubt you were warned not to play in the yellow snow. For Arizona, the public is about to get the chance to ski and cavort in it.

This gives me all sorts of wonderful ideas for the advertisement, such as: "Make your own slop, oh, wait, it's your Slope!"

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona skiers may soon be spared the inconvenience of living in one of the Union’s warmest and driest states.

Last week the high court removed the final legal hurdle blocking Arizona Snowbowl from making artificial snow with reclaimed sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks—a plan which 13 southwestern tribes say will desecrate their sacred mountain.

In a long-running lawsuit filed against the the U.S.Forest Service (the ski center's landlord) the Navajo and several other tribes had sought protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, arguing that to make snow on the mountain would decrease the "spiritual fulfillment" tribal members get from practicing their religion. By declining, without comment, to act on the tribes' appeal of a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court effectively gave Snowbowl the go-ahead.

Lawyers for the tribes say they still have several options (which appear to be long shots) for blocking Snowbowl. For now, though, Snowbowl is free to busy itself with that time-honored Western tradition: moving water uphill toward money.
-Environmentalists who objected to the plan because of pharmaceuticals and other micro-pollutants in the water can watch the science unfold, to see what these things will actually do to the alpine environment and to human health.

Your Supreme Court acts again to protect businesses from the public. There is a place for pictures of the Roberts Court, on the post office wall, with a title; Public Enemy Number one.

The decision to befoul the land should not have happened, but this is a big part of the Bush legacy that will take a long time to clean up. The toxic wasteland they represent is dangerous to us all.

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