The showdown between the federal government and the historic town of Tombstone is headed to court. Using the 10th Amendment as a defense for the residents of Tombstone, the Goldwater Institute will be pushing back against the United States Forest Service (USFS), which is preventing the repair of crucial water lines to the town. More from Goldwater:
The City of Tombstone is squaring off against the U.S. Forest Service over water rights in a fight to rescue “The Town Too Tough to Die.” Citing the Wilderness Act, the Forest Service is refusing to allow the city to repair its waterlines to mountain springs it has owned for nearly seventy years – and which date back to the 1880s. This refusal is threatening residents, private property and public safety with the risk of a total loss of fire protection and safe drinking water.
In a show down between the federal government and the “Town Too Tough to Die,” the U.S. Forest Service is refusing to allow Tombstone to repair its mountain spring water lines after forest fires, floods and torrential mudslides destroyed them in the Monument Fire of 2011. Not content with allowing forest fires to burn down some of the most beautiful land in Arizona, the Forest Service is willing to risk the lives and properties of Tombstone residents and tourists due to the loss of adequate fire suppression capabilities and safe drinking water.
Between May and July 2011, the Monument Fire engulfed a large part of the eastern portion of the Huachuca Mountains. Record-breaking monsoon rains followed. With no vegetation to absorb the runoff, huge mudslides forced boulders to tumble down the mountain sides, crushing Tombstone’s mountain spring waterlines, destroying reservoirs and shutting off Tombstone’s main source of water. In some areas, Tombstone’s pipeline is under 12 feet of mud, rocks and other debris; while in other places, it is hanging in mid-air due to the ground being washed out from under it. In response, federal bureaucrats are refusing to allow Tombstone to unearth its springs and restore its waterlines unless they jump through a lengthy permitting process that will require the city to use horses and hand tools to remove boulders the size of Volkswagens.