Federal Judge Denies Tombstone's Access to Safe Drinking Water

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
05/22/2012
       
Federal Judge Denies Tombstone's Access to Safe Drinking Water

Late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Frank Zapata denied Tombstone, Arizona’s motion for an emergency injunction against the government of the United States and the Forest Service that would have given the city the green light to use heavy machinery to repair water pipelines located in “protected areas.”

 Late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Frank Zapata denied Tombstone, Arizona’s motion for an emergency injunction against the government of the United States and the Forest Service that would have given the city the green light to use heavy machinery to repair water pipelines located in “protected areas.”

Thanks to Judge Zapata’s rejection of their plea, the residents of Tombstone continue to suffer from a lack of clean drinking water and the Obama administration apparently doesn’t care.

As we’ve reported previously, the problem began after the Monument Fire in 2011 ravaged the Huachuca Mountains home to the pipelines that carry the town’s water down from the source in the Miller Canyon Wilderness Area.

In July of that year, rains were so heavy that enormous boulders (“some the size of Volkswagens”) careered down the mountains destroying the waterlines (some segments are reportedly buried beneath 12 feet of mud) and choking reservoirs, effectively leaving Tombstone high and dry.

So devastating was the effect of the storms that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency specifically including Tombstone within the emergency zone. Later, the state legislature appropriated funds to help the town restore its water supply infrastructure damaged by the deluge.

In the months since the record-breaking storms, the federal government has thrown up one roadblock after another hindering Tombstone’s attempts to send machinery up the mountain to repair the pipes and clear the debris that is threatening the lives and safety of its nearly 1,600 residents.

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