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HOPI LEGAL FUND
HOTVELA TRADITIONAL ELDERS
The traditional elders of Hotvela
filed a lawsuit based on the National Environmental Policy Act
("NEPA") to stop construction of a sewer pipeline and
lagoon in their village. The construction and digging desecrate
numerous sacred areas and, according to the Hopi plaintiffs, is
prophetic of the end of the world. The status of the action is
briefly stated below.
A complaint in motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) with supporting memorandum of points and authorities was filed.
The complaint was amended to include the Hopi Tribe and the Hotvela Village Council.
At the hearing the district court judge denied the TRO for health reasons. There was no evidence of adverse health impacts on the record.
The case was appealed to the ninth circuit with emergency motions for injunctive relief. We claimed that denial of the TRO constituted final relief. All parties, including the Tribe filed appellate briefs.
The Ninth Circuit sent the case back to the district court and denied injunctive relief.
The federal government and the Tribe filed motions to dismiss in district court, generally on jurisdictional issues. All parties briefed the issues. Plaintiffs filed motions and requests for expedited consideration.
The court sat on the various motions until the sewer line was, for all intents and purposes, complete. It recently issued an order setting a hearing on whether or not the case was moot.
The traditional Hopis prevailed at the hearing. So long as the pipes can be removed the court can fashion relief and the case is not moot.
Plaintiffs filed supplemental briefs, which were responded to by all parties.
We are currently waiting
for the judge to rule on the dispositive jurisdiction
motions before him. If he rules in our favor, we have to
proceed to the merits of the case. If he rules against
us, we have to appeal, once again, to the Ninth Circuit.
Note: The attorney who is donating
his legal council on this action has never asked for money from
the Traditional Elders. This time consuming effort is very
expensive. Please help by making tax-deductible donations to: DON'T WASTE ARIZONA
Mail to: Howard M. Shanker
141 East Palm Lane, Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85004 ......................... (in memo on check, write "Hopi Legal Fund")
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