Jennings Strouss Lawyers Instrumental In Arizona Snowbowl Win

8.8.08

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that using A+ reclaimed water to make artificial snow at a Flagstaff ski resort does not violate the religious freedom of Native Americans. The ruling would also enable Arizona Snowbowl to replace old lifts, construct a new lodge and create more skiing terrain.

The decision out of the court's Ninth Circuit in San Francisco overturns an earlier appellate decision to the contrary. The issue, which has received national attention, has see-sawed since January 2006, when a federal judge in Prescott first ruled that Arizona Snowbowl's upgrade plan was acceptable under federal environmental law.

A coalition of tribes and environmental groups led by the Navajo Nation appealed the decision on religious grounds, and it was overturned in March 2007 by a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit. Snowbowl's owners asked us to assist them in having the case reviewed en banc, that is, by a panel of eleven appellate judges, which came back with a 8-3 decision in favor of Snowbowl.

Jenning Strouss attorneys Paul Johnson, John Egbert and Michael O’Connor were co-counsel with Hogan & Hartson in D.C. on the en banc appeal for the Arizona Snowbowl. Mr. Johnson was also co-counsel in the District Court action and initial appeal.