Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacred Arizona mountains - lessons for us?

San Francisco peaks

perhaps a little more information about the fight to protect the sacred mountains in Arizona.

"The Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort, located on the Peaks which are also managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is attempting an expansion and snowmaking with contaminated wastewater. The plan has been called a threat of “cultural genocide” by the president of the Navajo Nation."

"The expansion plan at Snowbowl includes: clear-cutting 74 acres of rare alpine ecosystem & creating a 14.8 mile long pipeline up the San Francisco Peaks to a 10 million gallon storage pond to make fake snow out of wastewater. This wastewater has been proven to contain harmful contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, hormones and cancer causing agents.

In a study of Flagstaff's "reclaimed" water known as the “Endocrine Disrupter Screening Project”* completed by both Dr. Propper of NAU and the USGS, besides the obvious bacteria and nitrates, they also found the following:

Human and veterinary antibiotics, antihistamines, caffeine, codeine, oral contraceptives and other hormones, steroids, anti-seizure medication, solvents, disinfectants, flame retardants, moth and mosquito repellants, wood preservative, antifreeze and de-icer ingredients, pesticides, and other cancer causing agents such as Atrizine (the list goes on). Dr. Propper suggested that she “would be very concerned if anyone were to drink the reclaimed water”.

Snowbowl employees will potentially be placed at greatest risk due to prolonged exposure to contaminants in wastewater snow.

Concerns have also been raised about other applications of wastewater, currently the City of Flagstaff uses reclaimed water to irrigate parks, school fields & golf courses."

*An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed
into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body's normal functions

An excellent chronology of events here

1862 - 2007

The San Francisco Peaks have been held sacred, since time immemorial, by the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Tewa, Haulapai, Havasupai, Yavapai-Apache, Yavapai-Prescott, Tonto Apache, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, San Juan Southern Pauite, Fort Mcdowell Mohave Apache, and Acoma.

All tribes traditionally hold that if this Sacred Mountain is disturbed by any means, than their ways of life are violated.

The Hopi and Navajo Tribes have historically objected to any development which has had the potential for disturbing this sacred mountain.

The Homestead Act of 1862, which offered 160 acres of free land in the West to settlers willing to move and live on the homestead. This law led to 270 million acres of land passing into private hands.

Late 1800s: First Anglo occupation of the present day Flagstaff area, leading to the persecution and forced removal of many Native American’s from the area.
Early settlers primarily viewed the extensive forests of the San Francisco Peaks region exclusively for their economic value.

1924: United States Congress grants Native Americans the rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, however Arizona does not recognize the native right to vote until much later.

And so on... "

Go to the Save the Peaks site. There are excellent resources and plenty of information. We don't really have this type of high resource approach to the areas we are trying to protect here. I'd love to see the internet being used even more strongly, to pull the various threads of arguement together and provide forums, advice and resources for protecting and fighting for our land.

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