Tag Archives: Walter Phelps

10/12/2011 Gallup Independent: Hopi opposes groundwater use at Arizona Snowbowl

10/12/2011 Hopi opposes groundwater use at Arizona Snowbowl By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau,Gallup Independent: WINDOW ROCK – A Navajo Nation Council resolution supporting the use of groundwater to make artificial snow at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff is under fire by the Hopi Tribe. “The Hopi Tribal Council does not join or support a recently proposed Navajo Nation Council resolution recommending the use of groundwater for snow-making on Nuvatukyaovi,” the Hopi name for the sacred mountain, Hopi stated Tuesday in a press release. Hopi believe the only water appropriate for Nuvatukyaovi is natural water as provided by rain and snow. “There can be no exceptions,” they said.

“The Hopi Tribal Council, all known Hopi religious practitioners, the Hopi Tribe and its people are still, and always will be, opposed to the use of any snow-making operations on Nuvatukyaovi,” Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa said. “The Navajo proposal is not a solution to the issues facing the tribes with respect to Arizona Snowbowl’s expansions on Nuvatukyaovi.”

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Walter Phelps, sponsor of the resolution, said Tuesday that the Nation does not have an official position on the use of groundwater and the resolution “will stimulate discussion on the issue. We just need to get some of that clarified. We also need to discuss alternatives.”

One possible option in discussion is to buy into the Snowbowl.

“There’s an offer by the developer. He’s willing to sell a portion back to us,” Delegate Katherine Benally told Steve Titla, general counsel for the San Carlos Apache Tribe, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Nabik’iyati’ Committee.

San Carlos representatives came to ask for Navajo Nation support in protecting Oak Flat, one of its sacred sites threatened by copper mining. Benally asked whether San Carlos would be interested in “sharing resources” to buy into the ski resort.

“That is a very interesting proposal that I will share with my Chairman,” Titla said.

Splitting the $15 million cost for a 30 percent stake in the Snowbowl with other interested Arizona tribes which hold the mountain sacred would give them an equity stake and a seat at the table on discussions of artificial snow-making.

Navajo first began discussing purchase of the ski resort two years ago when the price stood at $48 million. Since then, the cost of subsequent legal cases has been attached to the selling price and has driven up the cost to $52 million.

In the alternative, Phelps’ resolution supports the use of groundwater as opposed to reclaimed or recovered-reclaimed water in the snow-making process on Dook’o’oosliid – the Navajo name for the sacred mountain – to prevent its desecration.

“Water – regardless of its source – is a limited and critical natural resource in the Southwest and the Hopi Tribe continues to oppose any artificial snow-making by these means,” according to Louella Nahsonhoya, Hopi public information officer.

Hopi filed suit in August against the city of Flagstaff, challenging its September 2010 decision not to amend or cancel the contract for sale of 1.5 million gallons per day of reclaimed wastewater to the Snowbowl for artificial snow-making.

Hopi said the city already is using more than its fair share of water, and any plans to sell water to the Snowbowl would only worsen the problem. “In addition, the sale of water for snow-making so that a select few can benefit, violates the public interest in wise water use for our region,” Hopi said.

Nuvatukyaovi is an important, sacred place for the Hopi which holds a central and essential role in Hopi culture, traditions and way of life. For Navajo, Dook’o’oosliid has a unique religious significance and a “complete connection with daily songs and prayers to their supernatural beings.”

Navajo, Hopi, the Havasupai Nation, the Hualapai Tribe and others sued to protect the mountain, but in 2008, the 9th Circuit Court failed to recognize the sacred stature of the mountain and allowed the U.S. Forest Service to issue a permit to the Snowbowl for the manufacture of artificial snow from reclaimed water. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which allowed the 9th Circuit opinion to stand.

Phelps’ resolution was posted on the Navajo Nation Council website last Friday. Tuesday was the final day for public comment before the bill can be considered by the standing committees, however, legislative counsel stated last week that the public is free to provide comments at any time, including at committee meetings.

Phelps said he does not expect the resolution to go before the Resources and Development Committee until the last week of October, so it will not make Council’s fall session agenda.

10/11/2011 The Hopi Tribal Council Does Not Support Navajo’s Proposal to Use Groundwater for Snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi

10/11/2011 The Hopi Tribal Council Does Not Support Navajo’s Proposal to Use Groundwater for Snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi: Kykotsmovi, Ariz. – The Hopi Tribal Council does not join or support a recently proposed Navajo Nation Council Resolution recommending the use of groundwater for snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi (the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff).  Navajo Nation Councilman Walter Phelps has introduced a bill that would have the Navajo Nation support the use of groundwater for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks.

Water – regardless of its source – is a limited and critical natural resource in the Southwest and the Hopi Tribe continues to oppose any artificial snowmaking by these means.  As set forth in the Hopi Tribe’s complaint against the city of Flagstaff, the city is already using more than its fair share of water, and any plans to sell water to the Snowbowl will only worsen this problem.  In addition, the sale of water for snowmaking so that a select few can benefit, violates the public interest in wise water use for our region.

Nuvatukyaovi is an important, sacred place for the Hopi which holds a central and essential role in Hopi culture, traditions and way of life. The Hopi Tribe has tirelessly opposed the issuance of the Special Use Permit to the Arizona Snowbowl, which allows for the installation of artificial snowmaking equipment.  The Hopi Tribe has maintained unwavering opposition to any type of artificial snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks, whether from reclaimed wastewater, recovered reclaimed water or groundwater.  The only water appropriate for Nuvatukyaovi is natural water as provided by rain and snow, and there can be no exceptions.

The Navajo proposal is not a solution to the issues facing the tribes with respect to Arizona Snowbowl’s expansions on Nuvatukyaovi.  Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa affirms, “The Hopi Tribal Council, all known Hopi religious practitioners, the Hopi Tribe and its people are still, and always will be, opposed to the use of any snowmaking operations on Nuvatukyaovi.”

The Tribe continues to declare that the only solution is to prevent any and all artificial snowmaking on the Peaks and to void the contract between the city of Flagstaff and Arizona Snowbowl.

For more information on the Hopi Tribe visit www.hopi-nsn.gov. Contact: Public Information Office Phone: (928) 734-3104 Fax: (928) 734-6665   www.hopi-nsn.gov

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Please click on the Scribd link: THE NAVAJO NATION LEGISLATIVE BRANCH LEGISLATION NO: _0420-11______ SPONSOR: Walter Phelps TITLE: An Action Relating To Resources And Development And NAABIK’IYATI’; Supporting The Use of Groundwater for Snowmaking

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9/30/2011 Gallup Independent: No k'e for Shelly after veto

9/30/2011 Gallup Independent: No k’e for Shelly after veto By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – When it comes to money, even among the closest of kin, relationships can become strained. Nowhere was that more evident than Thursday’s Nabiki’yati’ Committee when delegates basically threw k’e out the window and hammered Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly at length for slashing their budget. Exercising line-item veto authority, Shelly cut more than $2 million from the Legislative Branch budget for Fiscal Year 2012. He whittled $130,050 from the travel budget for the Resources and Development Committee chaired by Delegate Katherine Benally after she gutted $433,988 from the Executive Branch budget.

The money intended for Executive salary adjustments and consultant fees Benally gave to a private day-care facility and the Navajo Area Agency on Aging – before Shelly’s line-item veto wiped out her good intentions.

“Anyone wanting to fight the elders, they need to go through me first. Anybody wanting to fight the kids, I’ll take them on. Bring it on, Mr. President!” Benally said.

When it was proposed they invite the president to Nabiki’yati’ and try to talk through their differences, she said, “I will not beg him for a penny.” Then, addressing Shelly in absentia, added, “You practiced your prerogative to veto our committee’s travel line-item. Thank you. We just will not meet.”

Council is in the midst of trying to do a bond initiative for capital improvement projects. Benally said Shelly has been invited to her committee numerous times to discuss his plan for prosperity, but has not come.

“Where’s this pitch that he gives to us about prosperity?” Salaries for the president’s staff range from approximately $70,000 to $93,000, she said. “That’s where the prosperity is, just in his office. I don’t want us going over there and meeting with him. He used and abused that veto power. I say our staff needs to challenge that.”

Lorenzo Curley said this year was the worst budget experience of his eight years on the Navajo Nation Council. “There’s too much exercise of patronage in our budget system and I think that’s what we’re talking about here. We know every year that the Executive budget is padded. Some of us talk about trimming those padded monies in Executive Branch,” he said.

“We kind of give the Executive Branch the respect, the k’e, and so we let it go, and we expect the same reciprocal treatment from the president. It didn’t happen. He double-crossed us,” Curley said.

Alton Shepherd reminded delegates, “ ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ That’s what the people have given him, and that’s what I, too, have given him as a president” as a result of the line-item veto initiative. “I had to also dread the day when it becomes as painful as using a sword. I think that’s what happened,” he said.

Leonard Tsosie, who represents eight chapters, said it was unfair for the president to have staff assistants and Council not have any. “Because what we were going to work with has been vetoed, maybe we should reexamine the amount of assistants we give him. He’s telling us to make do with nothing, no assistants. Maybe we should limit the number of assistants he has.”

Tsosie said he sent a letter to the president which Shelly said he was going to make public. “I said, ‘So be it. I don’t mind.’ My letter indicated that some of us supported the line-item veto power and we campaigned for it. When we were out there, we didn’t tell the people that it would be used to target political adversaries.”

The recent sequence of events is “like walking on thin ice,” according to Delegate Leonard Pete. He said that when Shelly was a Council delegate he nearly got into a fist fight over an issue that arose on the Council floor. “He was taken out for disorderly conduct. … That kind of a leader, that kind of a person, that kind of a background, I hate to see something started. I hate to see his true colors.”

LoRenzo Bates said later that the president didn’t go back on his word. “They could have had their assistants. But when they went and put in their own personal feelings and agendas and went against the stream, we brought it on ourselves – and my colleagues better realize that.

“If Council chooses to go to war against the president’s office based on his action, and that includes going to court, and the court makes a decision in favor of the president’s office, you have given more authority to the chief justice to make determinations that could give more power to the chief justice to legislate,” Bates said. “If they’re willing to do that, then go for it.”

Walter Phelps told delegates he did not agree with all the sentiments. “I am concerned that we are taking this down the wrong path. I think, in my mind, it’s just a matter of a need to improve areas of communication between Executive and Legislative, and setting down guidelines for future appropriations.”

Speaker Johnny Naize said he was told by the president to bring some more numbers. “I have the numbers available for him. We can negotiate on those numbers.”

He said he would provide a memo to delegates explaining the action they are going to pursue.