Historic Tombstone takes on the feds over water rights
PHOENIX — There’s a story playing out in the Arizona desert that’s a microcosm of many states-vs.-Washington issues and ground zero for national precedents.
Tombstone, site of the gunfight at the OK Corral and dubbed the “Town Too Tough to Die” due to its hardscrabble history, is facing a new showdown – this time with the Obama Administration.
U.S. Forest Service officials have blocked the city’s ability to restore a historic mountain-spring water supply damaged during a 2011 fire. Today, Tombstone’s pipeline is under 12 feet of mud in some areas and hanging in mid-air in others due to the ground being washed out from under it.
In the meantime, the city is relying on local wells and doesn’t have sufficient water to handle a major fire – something that weighs heavily in a community that’s twice almost burned to the ground.
Forest Service bureaucrats refuse to allow Tombstone to unearth its springs and restore its waterlines unless they use horses and hand tools. And now the case is going to court – with national implications.
The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute is representing Tombstone in its case.