Friday, December 30, 2011

NSAA plans to sue U.S. Forest Service over new water-rights clause in permit

The 121-resort National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) is planning to sue the U.S. Forest Service over the new water-rights clause introduced in the ski-permit. The clause strips the ski resort operator of the water-rights on federal land and places them in the hands of the federal government. The ski industry is strongly objecting to the new clause as it will no longer have control over the water that originates from the federal land. The federal government will have full autonomy to put the water to whatever use they wish, a right that has led to a high degree of uncertainty for the ski industry as they rely heavily on water for snowmaking and base area developments. "We have no guarantee that they will continue to use the water for purposes of ski area business," said Michael Berry, president of the NSAA. "The government could decide to use the water and apply it to other uses or even sell it to urban water systems. Berry further stated that the water-rights served as an important part of the balance sheet of a ski resort after being acquired in the marketplace. The U.S. Forest Service, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the new clause has been added to the ski-permit with the purpose of ensuring that the resources from the federal land do not get severed...more

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