Tombstone readies picks and shovels

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Stephanie, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Anyone on the board near this and interested

    SNIP:


    “Our story has been picked up by CNN, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, John Stossel and the Washington Examiner, not to mention towns all over the country. The Goldwater Institute has joined our fight and is representing us in court.”

    In August, Gov. Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency and provided funds to help with the aqueduct’s repairs.

    While the forest service has allowed Tombstone access to three of its springs, the city has not been allowed to work on the remaining 21.

    U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake is currently sponsoring federal legislation that will allow Tombstone to repair the damaged water lines without going though federal permits.

    In addition, Tombstone Archivist Nancy Sosa has been requested to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee on Friday regarding Flake’s bill and the challenges Tombstone has been facing.

    The town’s 26-mile, gravity-fed system was built in the 1880s as the Huachuca Water Company and has been hailed “an engineering marvel.” An article that appears in an 1882 edition of the Tombstone Epitaph talks about the pipeline and its route from Miller, Marshall and Carr Canyons as it makes its way to Tombstone. In 1908 the Huachuca Water Company was purchased by A.E. Davis who sold the entire water system to the City of Tombstone in 1947. In addition, the city owns original documents showing every appropriation of the water system, with the first appropriation from Miller Canyon in 1881.

    “The city’s ownership of this system predates statehood and the forest service,” said Tombstone City Councilman Steve Troncale.

    “Each appropriation of water comes with a land description and map indicating the city of Tombstone owns the water rights. All of this is court ordered through sales and a declaration of ownership of property to Tombstone.”

    Through the years, the system has provided an ample supply of potable water to the residents of Tombstone, along with the 400,000 tourists that visit the town annually. But now, the town is left with three repaired springs, along with one reliable well for its water. With fire season here, the ability to provide adequate water for fire suppression is a concern.

    “In my opinion, the forest service has made several mistakes,” said Kevin Rudd, who was hired by Tombstone as project manager for the system’s repair work. “The first and obvious one is forest mismanagement that put Tombstone in this predicament in the first place.”

    Rudd said that once the damage was done, the forest service should have allowed Tombstone into the wilderness area to “repair our system which would facilitate Tombstone’s obligation to protect its residents. Instead, they used the Wilderness Act as a tool to delay our repair process.”

    Rudd also noted that the city of Tombstone began contacting the forest service about
    accessing damaged areas to start the repairs “long before the situation was declared an emergency” by Brewer.

    “When monsoon rains began to pound the canyons in July of 2011, Nancy Sosa began contacting the forest service to let them know about our pending dilemma because she knew from experience what was coming.”

    Rudd disagrees with U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata’s recent decision to deny the city’s emergency request to repair the water system. Zapata’s decision is based on the argument that “repairs to the system appear to be substantially complete.”

    Those repairs, Rudd argues, are preliminary, with temporary welds holding salvaged pipe in place where the main aqueduct was blown out. Collection structures, once made of concrete and protected by metal cages were destroyed during the mudslides and are now made of temporary sand bags and plastic pipe.

    “Our situation right now is precarious,” said Barnes. “If our one well goes down, or we receive minimal flow from the springs, we’re in a very bad situation.”

    However, Zapata does not feel that Tombstone faces a crisis. “Claims of a drastic water emergency related to public consumption and fire needs are overstated and speculative,” he has been quoted as stating.

    Troncale points to a huge restaurant fire that occurred in Tombstone about 18 months ago where the establishment, Six Gun City, burned to the ground. The fire, he said, could have destroyed the entire town.

    “It was our water supply, fire department and the backup that we got from other fire districts that saved this town from complete disaster,” he said.

    “The supply of water that we have right now is not adequate to fight a fire of that magnitude. If we have another fire like Six Gun City’s, this entire town could be
    destroyed.”

    During a special Cochise County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, the board unanimously supported a resolution that calls for “…the cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service in the repair and maintenance of its (Tombstone’s) municipal water
    system.”

    The supervisors’ support came as welcome news to Tombstone officials, said Barnes. In part, the resolution states that the forest service has impaired the ability of agents of the city of Tombstone “to make repairs to its water system by restricting access…” to the system. Concerns about the health and safety of the residents of Tombstone, along with its visitors also are noted.

    In addition, the resolution supports Tombstone’s right to “immediate and unimpaired access to Coronado National Forest lands located in the Huachuca Mountains, free of federal restraint to make all necessary repairs to its water
    system.”

    Tombstone city officials are hoping the publicity the town has been receiving, along with legislative support, will generate enough public pressure to allow the work to be completed without further delays.

    “Our beef is with the forest service, not the forest,” said Barnes. “We want to re-establish what we already had.”

    Henderson agrees. “With the monsoons just around the corner, we’re bracing for more damage,” he said.

    “The Tombstone Shovel Brigade is just another layer of support we’ve received in this convoluted process. The good news is, we’ve already won this fight in the court of public opinion, and the state of Arizona recognizes our rights. Now we need to do is convince the federal government.”

    The issue:


    all of it HERE
    Tombstone readies picks and shovels | The Sierra Vista Herald
     
  2. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Now that is odd. Here in Oregon, the date that the water is first used establishes water rights, and access to the water. In this case, it appears that Tombstones water rights are as good as they get.

    Unless this article is leaving out something, this needs to be rectified immediatly. Tombstone should be allowed to make the neccessary repairs.
     
  3. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Forest Service fightin' over water with ski areas...
    :eusa_eh:
    Nation's ski areas and U.S. Forest Service fight over water rights
    11/16/2012 - Department of Justice attorney Clay Samford said ski areas regularly buy water rights and could be swayed to sell them if the price is right.
     
  4. RoadVirus
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    RoadVirus <insert pithy title here>

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    We probably wouldn't have to worry about such things under a Romney administration.
     

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