Obama Administration vs. Tombstone

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The latest chapter in the Obama administration’s war against state sovereignty and the state of Arizona pits the town of Tombstone against the United States Forest Service. Tombstone is suing the U.S. Forest Service over that agency’s refusal to allow city officials to repair damaged water transport infrastructure in the nearby Huachuca mountains. The Forest Service’s refusal to allow city workers access to damaged reservoirs, pipelines, and pumping stations, has cut Tombstone off from 50 to 80 percent of its water supply; leaving town residents and tourists dependent on two wells for water, and the town acutely vulnerable to fire. In addition, the water in one well is contaminated with arsenic.

Tombstone is a desert town of 1500 residents located in southern Arizona about 70 miles southeast of Tucson in the shadow of 9466 ft. Miller Peak, which is in the Coronado National Forest. Americans associate Tombstone with the October 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral; and the resulting tourist trade has supported the town fairly well. Tombstone has survived the closing of local silver mines and a number of fires, thereby becoming known as “The town too tough to die.” Now, however, that proud title is being severely tested, by our own federal government.

Tombstone is supplied with water from 24 springs, located in the Huachuca Mountains on and around Miller Peak. However, nearly a year ago, from May through July 2011, the Monument fire destroyed at least 18,580 acres (640 acres equals one square mile) of forest and vegetation in the Huachuca Mountains, including the Miller Peak Wilderness area. Torrential rains followed soon after the fire, and the resulting mud slides pushed boulders “the size of Volkswagens” down on vital pumping stations, pipes, and other infrastructure. Some water pipes remain buried under twelve feet of mud, while others are without support, ominously hanging in the air, as the ground underneath has been washed away. In August 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency in Tombstone, authorizing $50,000 in state funds to help cover engineering and repair costs for Tombstone’s water system. Since many of the pipelines are in areas designated as “wilderness,” the U.S. Forest Service won’t allow access for the mechanized equipment needed to fix the pipelines. Huge boulders, downed trees, and enormous piles of dirt and gravel must be moved, to build the structures that will protect the water lines against future natural disasters. However, these obstacles can’t be moved with the hand tools and horse teams that the Forest Service demands the city use.

As of January 2012, Forest Service officials had granted permits to repair infrastructure for only 2 of the 24 springs that supply Tombstone; and city manager George Barnes said “the city was told that the requests for the remaining permits would take a lot longer” to approve. Meanwhile, the state’s emergency funds are being wasted, as rented vehicles and equipment are sitting idle, and several pieces of heavy equipment have been vandalized, with the city required to pay for their repair. In addition, Tombstone has only a two day supply of water on hand, making the town particularly vulnerable to fire.

The Obama administration and the U.S. Forest Service are clearly attempting to regulate the state of Arizona in violation of the Constitution and impose an arbitrary, draconian environmentalist agenda on the land use rights of Americans. In addition, gold prospectors on western federal lands are routinely harassed by over-zealous park rangers, and ranchers have been pressured to surrender access and water rights. The Forest Service cites The Wilderness Act of 1964, which defines “Wilderness” as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean…an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation…with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable.”  Under “Prohibition of Certain Uses,” this act states, “[S]ubject to existing private rights, there shall be no…permanent road within any Wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the Administration of the area…(including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area) there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment…no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.” However, the Forest Service has gone beyond the Wilderness Act and threatened Arizona’s sovereignty and Tombstone’s very existence.

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  • Chris Gleason

    More of Obama's thuggery! No sane person would hamper a town's efforts to save itself from disaster. This is his way of asserting his power over all of us, as if we were not already aware of it. From costly regulations imposed on businesses and on consumers, to giving taxpayers money to support Palestine's war on Israel, to allowing Eric Holder to manage the killing US Border Patrol members, this man is the worst ever seen in the Oval Office. He should be impeached immediately, before he does damage we can't correct.

    • PhillipGaley

      "before he does damage which can't be corrected."? In the deaths of US Border Patrol members, many more Mexicans, millions of those aborted innocents, and many souls in the Middle East, by what appearance of logic are we to suppose that, such damage has not already occurred, and in full measure? Thimk! Man, thimk!

  • Ken

    This is just another way to get back at Arizona for it's immigration law. Obama and his cronies will find ANY way to get even with anyone who dares oppose them!! No matter how ridiculous or how obviously wrong they are.

    • Stephen_Brady

      Agreed. He desperately wants to be a dictator, and the federal laws that he's using allow him to come dangerously close.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Who in the Forst Service makes these outrageous decisions? In America's Unviersities where courses
    in Forestry are held the students are again brainwashed as to how bad man is and should not be on
    any Forest lands where they will do terrible things. Proper and respectful use of land, putting rules in
    place to insure no wanton destruction and pollution should be in order to avoid waste. The obfuscating
    of necessary and useful uses serves only the leftist agenda to make America unliveable for Americans.
    Congress if it was worth it's pay and usefull which it is not, Congress should reorganize the Forest
    Service and insure it serves the People of America properly, respectfully and with urgency where
    and when necessary. Witholding funds from the miscreant agency until it straightens out would be a
    good first step, firing the criminal subversives shoud be on Congresses agenda………….William

    • Stephen_Brady

      Local control is the key, William. Take these powers away from the federal government, and return them to the states, where they belong. I believe that the protection the land receives will not only be more responsible, but more respectful to property rights (which is another term the Left hates, unless the property is theirs).

      And let's not forget the tourism money that Tombstone brings in to the State of Arizona. Obama is hitting the state where it hurts, and there's reason behind his madness. Evil reason, but reason, nonetheless.

  • Stephen_Brady

    Obama would wet himself if Doc Halliday looked at him and said, "I'm your huckleberry."

  • tagalog

    Get the vehicles and power tools out there to insure the continued water supply for the people; when the U.S. government sues, turn it into a media frenzy and if Tombstone loses, refuse to pay the judgment. Screw the United States government. The United States deserves better than the government it's got.

  • ctyankee

    In addition, the water in one well is contaminated with arsenic.

    I remember when Democrats in Congress claimed that President G.W. Bush wanted to put arsenic in the water supply. It was actually a question of lowering the tolerance from the previous level of arsenic allowed by the EPA, requiring the closing of some existing water supplies. Where is Dr. Oz on this? Did he test samples of apple juice?

  • reality

    This is another act by Obama adminstration that puhishes states such as Arizona becuase of it's enforcement of Federal immigration law.

    BTW, the forest agency for sure use motor vehicles in the forests, why are they immune to thier own regulations?

  • H&R_ Barack

    RE: "Obama Administration vs. Tax-Payer's Tombstone"

    Even White House sources say that the First Lady MOOChelle has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in 2010!

    MOOchelle's Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels: First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029615/Michelle-Obama-accused-spending-10m-public-money-vacations.html

    ……..MOOchelle was spent MILLIONS vacationing in Hawaii, or, Spain, or in Las Vegas.

    In February, First lady Michelle Obama’s weekend jaunt to Aspen, Colorado for a President’s Day ski holiday – – – with her daughters Sasha and Malia

    The OBAMAS have gone on MORE than 16 extended vacations during their – three years..

    Today the HUSSEIN Obamas' have sucked the taxpayer for more than TWENTY vacations.

    QUESTION: How many vacations have the TAXPAYERS enjoyed in three years?

    • Steve

      This is part of his stimulus plan… to personally stimulate the tourism industry with taxpayer money (unfortunately, they are doing most of it overseas).

  • Ronald Johnston

    This evil terrorist must be the Anti-Christ of biblical lore!!!!

  • pagegl

    How many times does this administration have to violate the Constitution before Obama is impeached?

  • ebonystone

    98-406 Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984 Sec. 101(e)(1) Forest Service Arizona
    General Admininstration
    Agency Jurisdiction
    Water Rights/Laws

    Wilderness(es): … Miller Peak Wilderness,…
    Text: (e)(1) As provided in paragraph (6) of section 4(d) of the Wilderness Act, nothing in this Act or in the Wilderness Act shall constitute an express or implied claim or denial on the part of the Federal Government as to exemption from Arizona State water laws.

    i. e. the Act establishing the Miller Peak Wilderness specifically says there's no exemption from the state water laws.

    Also, since the Wilderness Act defines wilderness as having no permanent man-made structures, how was this area ever approved as a wilderness when it had water pipelines running through it?

    • Eric Burns

      "Also, since the Wilderness act defines wilderness as having no permanent man-made structures,
      how was this area ever approved as a wilderness when it had water pipelines running through it?"

      That's one of the points of the article. The Feds base their case, to a large degree, on the 1964 Wilderness Act, regardless of the fact that Tombstone's water rights were vested long before 1964, and that state law takes precedence. The Feds are acting as if they are right, no matter what.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Arazona should just gather the supplies and personell necessary to make the repairs- protected with their own National Guard. Obama could never get re-elected sending Federal forces to prevent AMERICANS from having a glass of Water.

  • Steve

    I say bring in 20,000 volunteers with shovels, pick axes and horses. Bring the occupiers. They could occupy the forest and help out. They aren't doing anything else. I would volunteer and bring my four teenage kids every weekend until it is complete. The forest service would be so overwhelmed, they couldn't do anything about it. If ancient man could build the pyramids without technology, we certainly could move boulders the size of Volkswagons with enough manpower.

  • Sage on the Stage

    Good idea–and very creative. A solution straight out of ancient times.

  • deleeuw

    Tombstone is known for it's adherence to the 2nd Amendment in a State that is trying to do its part in fighting illegal immigration. Both these points are immensely despised by the current administration. Is it then any wonder that the administration is would be wanting to destroy Tombstone?

    Stalin murdered 3 MILLION Ukrainians by blocking shipments of food because of its opposition to Moscow; Gorbachev cut of the electricity to Lithuanuia when it wanted to be independent.

    And now WE have marxist thugs who are essentially doing the same thing!

  • huck

    Appropriation means whose water it is; Pinchot was right but this article confuses appropriation with methodology. The water is Tombstone's but they must get it according to the current laws. Today they have to use methods that do not include violation of the Wilderness designation, but it is their water. If they don't want to obey the current laws, they can't get to their water. You can't use slaves to do your gardening anymore, either, but it is still your garden. If you want to insist that the Wilderness laws violate the constitution, you are on really shaky ground, but try you can and have your day in court… it worked for slaveholders and other conservatives in the past who kept the "liberals" at bay with abominable court decisions right up until there had to be a war.