For over a year and a half, the historic town of Tombstone, Ariz., has been in a stand-off with the U.S. Forest Service over the restoration of its municipal water system in the Huachuca Mountains.
It all started when the Forest Service refused to allow the city to restore its water supply after it was destroyed by flooding caused by the Monument Fire’s denuding of the Coronado National Forest. Disregarding a State of Emergency declared by Governor Brewer which authorized immediate repairs, the Forest Service instead wrapped the town in red tape. Before allowing the restoration work to go forward, it required multiple interagency and interdepartmental consultations. Eventually the Forest Service approved partial repairs to two of the city’s 25 springheads.
Today, only three springheads are delivering water to Tombstone from the Huachuca Mountains. The city’s water supply is nearly as precarious as it was after the Monument Fire. While the Forest Service mulls over authorizing additional repairs, the fire-prone, desert-parched city’s existence hangs in the balance.
To vindicate Tombstone’s right to exist, the Goldwater Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. We are also requesting permission to allow Tombstone to immediately continue its restoration work.
Fortunately, Tombstone is not standing alone before the U.S. Supreme Court. On April 1st, amicus briefs supporting Tombstone were filed by a coalition of 13 counties in Arizona and New Mexico, and five leading national and western state think tanks, including the Cato Institute, the Rio Grande Foundation, the Montana Policy Institute, the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. A veritable posse has joined the fight for Tombstone’s right to exist—and not a moment too soon; the Supreme Court conferences on April 12 to determine whether to take the case.