Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Federal Government Denies Tombstone Residents Water

March 6, 2012 by  

Federal Government Denies Tombstone Residents Water

Federal government bureaucracy is protecting wildlife near Tombstone, Ariz., at the expense of the health of town residents. As a result of the policy, Tombstone residents are being forced to bathe and drink water from ground wells — one of which contains arsenic.

Last summer a massive fire dubbed the Monument Fire that tore across Arizona damaged several pipelines that provided water to the town’s 1,500 residents and nearly 400,000 annual visitors. The Federal government has told town officials that they may not repair the waterlines because they are located in a wilderness area that would be damaged by mechanized equipment brought in for the job.

George Barnes, Tombstone’s city clerk and manager told The Daily Caller, “We began working with the Forest Service but then we realized and found what an incredible boondoggle that could be, even though we are very confident we have a special status because our rights there pre-existed the Forest Service and even the BLM [Bureau of Land Management]. We were there long before anything and all we are asking is to fix our stuff.”

After the fire Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declared the town under a state of emergency due to the water situation and issued $50,000 for the repair of the water lines because 50 to 80 percent of Tombstone’s water supply was provided via the pipelines. Town officials now say residents in the area only have a two-day water reserve at any given time and there is not enough available water to even combat structure fires.

The town and the Goldwater Institute — its Phoenix-based legal counsel — are waiting for a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Frank Zapata, who will rule on whether to compel the Forest Service to allow Tombstone to get up into the Huachuca Mountains and repair its water infrastructure.

“The Tombstone case is the ultimate showdown between state sovereignty and federal overreach,” Nick Dranias, a member of the Goldwater legal team told The Daily Caller. “The reason why I say that is the case involves the federal government, through the Forest Service, threatening the very existence of the historic city of Tombstone and threatening the literal health and safety of its residents and tourists.”

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Federal Government Denies Tombstone Residents Water”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • s c

    In other words, our Washington ‘saviors’ demand that we believe that wildlife have more rights than people. Sounds to me as though moonbat tree-huggers have invaded the government.
    I’m sure Governor Brewer has read and understands Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution. As long as Uncle Scam – via the Forest Service and BLM – isn’t inclined to protect and close our borders, then it makes no sense to give credence to the idea that wildlife has more rights than Americans (or should I say Arizonans?).
    As long as certain politicians try to flex their muscles and prove that they’re utterly devolved, there is no reason for any state (especially Arizona) to tolerate corruption or a complete failure to enforce [yes, preserve, protect and defend] the Constitution.
    Why bother to elect anyone when they go to Washington to see how much Americans can tolerate in the name of freedom, representative government or any other meaningless concept?

    • Sirian

      Additional example of utopian dreams of “power & control s c, simple as that.

    • Ann in Nebraska

      Google: United Nations Agenda 21

      And so it continues.

      God help us all.

      • Sirian

        Yes, Agenda 21 is very much alive and moving much faster than the majority understands. Shoot, the majority haven’t even heard of it let alone understand it.

      • BGinTN

        Ann young lady, you are correct!
        The animals have more rights because they want human free zones.
        The arsenic in the water and helping to decrease the population is but a bonus.
        FEMA Loans have rights for the animals that trumps the property owners as well.
        Take a look at the leaders of the Agenda 21, Islamics, Communists and Environmentalists, all the people that love us.

        All those that want to take total control of the world.

        We are in a fight with them at the City and County level here, IT IS NO FUN.

    • Ted Crawford

      Why are we surprized by this? Just last summer these same nutcases championed by Pelosi, devastated a hugh agricultural area of California for a fish 99.99% of us have never and will never see.
      The same group who will put you in prison for damaging an Eagles egg but pays to destroy a human embro!

  • Doc Sarvis

    They CAN get their water from wells it said in the first paragraph. Most of rural America gets their water from wells and A LOT of them contain some trace amounts of arsenic.

    • Pete0097

      They also can’t fight structure fires with the well water as there is not enough quanity. As close as the buildings are together and made of wood, one little fire would wipe the town out. That is a better reason. In addition, they couldn’t put out a brush fire either without serious help, which might be too late. The environment could be further ruined.

      • Wumingren

        Maybe the environmentalists will be the ones to set that “one little fire” in the hope of wiping out the whole town, thus achieving a final solution. Extremists always seek final solutions, and to the environmentalists, that means human depopulation everywhere except in authorized “sustainable communities.”

      • bsg

        When the next civil war starts it will probably be the middle “fly over” states vs the liberal coastal areas. In that case the central states will have a great tactical advantage of only having to protect their territory which they will have knowledge of, and driving the enemy into the conveniently located seas. Keep your powder dry!

    • ToucheTurtle

      So what you are REALLY saying is that wild life should come before humans. Let me ask you one question: if it was YOUR family that had to drink the well water when there is a better source that can be accessed, would YOU be saying the same thing. Don’t worry . . . this kind of intrusion is coming your way soon. We will see if you just sit back and say, “animals first” then.

      I would LOVE to tell you what I think of your warped opinion, but I have more respect for this site than I do for you!

    • schillie

      why can’t they fix their pipelines then fix the wilderness area? it don’t take every long for grass and trees to grow back.

      • Huapakechi

        The watermelons can’t tolerate a single leaf being disturbed. Likely the fire was exponentially worse because the idiots prohibited brush clearing and fire roads.

    • Sirian

      Your form of logical thought process continues to wane Doc. LORD have mercy on this fools soul.

    • Huapakechi

      Arsenic is a cumulative poison. Would you tolerate ‘trace amounts’ over decades?

    • ArkansasRebel

      You’ve got to be kidding! Did you not read that they do not have enough reserve to fight structure fires? Yes, they could bathe in water contaminated with arsenic but they still only have a 2 day reserve. When it really gets hot this summer, how long will that last?
      Also, If the fires of last year were severe enough to damage the pipe lines, rendering them useless, isn’t the area already so damaged that it won’t really matter if equipment comes in to make the repairs? After all it can’t be that much if $50,000 will be enough to make the repairs?

      This action smacks of vindictiveness by the Obama administration! Jan Brewer had the backbone to stand up to the feds in Arizona’s fight against illegal immigration & now the feds are simply trying to make life as difficult as they possibly can for Arizona & for Jan Brewer.

      • Opal the Gem

        Doc Sarvis cannot read he can only spout usless fabrications formulated in his overactive imigination.

  • Dee

    obummer is punishing the state of Arizona because he doesn’t like their new immigration
    law. He doesn’t give a damn about America or Americans!

    • Fred

      Dee, You’re right on with that, this is Obama’s reply to Gov.Brewer for stepping on his
      toes and making him look as inept as he is, remember that picture on the tarmac when
      she looked like she was giving him a piece of her mind, well he didn’t forget that and thus
      the end result is shutting down any and all federal assistance to that state unless she
      falls in line to his demands……enough said

  • Deerinwater

    LOL! there’s a reason why the call the place “Tombstone”.

    Water has a greater value then fuel or gold.

    Southern Cal, Arizona and New Mexico’s future is not looking too bright at the moment.

    I don’t know what they are going to do, evidently they don’t either.

    We have a town call Gun Barrel, and one named Paradise. I guess it depends on where you’ve been as to what it might mean to you.

  • Robert LaLanne

    From what I have read elsewhere, Mexican cartels have been responsible for some of the fires along the border region – in the wilderness areas. Since the damage has already been done, I say go fix the pipelines and dare the feds to interfere. Our Border Patrol is forbidden to patrol in some sections of the border for the same stupid reasons, but the smugglers roam around freely in those areas.

    Things have gone too far with rules and regulations written and imposed by unelected idiots in Washington. It;s time to push back. In fact, everything the ineligible occupant of the White House has done and signed since January 2009 is null and void and needs to be ignored and/or challenged. His birth certificate is irrelevant because the qualification for holding office is being a “Natural-Born” citizen and since his father was born in Kenya and a British subject, Obama is NOT a Natural-Born citizen of the United States of America.

  • Don W Young

    Doc Sarvis, native groundwater in the Tombstone area contains greater than “trace amounts” of arsenic. This is a historic mining region. The minerals leached from rocks are heavily contaminated with heavy metals that are potentially dangerous if ingested.
    However, you completely miss the point here. The Town of Tombstone has superior water rights to even the federal government (Arizona is a “Prior Appropriation State.”). As such, it has a right to access its water. For the Forest Service to prevent access, it is violating Tombstone’s legal right to ITS water supply.
    Don W Young, PhD (a real doctor!)

    • Wumingren

      Gov. Brewer made $50,000 available for the restoration project. The room addition to my house cost more than that! In other words, this is a very small-scale project. How much damage to the environment could possibly result? The fire already did all the damage!

      There is a lesson to be learned here: It is far easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. The town should have just repaired its water lines without discussing it with anyone. Even now, the town should just go fix their water supply lines without asking for permission to do so. Just get it done! They will, however, likely need to post some snipers along strategic points to take care of both Federal agents and environmentalists who would attempt to destroy the repaired water lines.

      We are no longer a nation of laws, thanks to the precedent of a man in the White House who defies even court orders, let alone the law. Why should anyone follow any rules or laws, when the man in the White House picks and chooses which laws to ignore or enforce?

      The bottom line is, just fix it.

      • Deerinwater

        Gov Brewer is a major joke and will be ”going” soon.
        It cost the states 9 to12 million dollars , three years and a lot of work to get rid of these ” dysfunctional Tea party candidates.

        but hey, what’s a dollar?

    • Doc Sarvis

      So what needs to be decided is what trumps what; Prior Appropriation rights vs. Wilderness Designation of no human impacts. That would seem to be the issue. Actually, I am a bit surprised that a pipeline of this sort occurs in a designated Wilderness Area.

      • http://personallibertydigest gottaplenty

        Hey doc. Ppipelines were there before any greeny came up with Wilderness.

      • Doc Sarvis

        Gotta – I beg to differ. Wilderness, though not “designated” was there long before the pipelines.

      • Ted Crawford

        gottaplenty; See what you get for trying to use logic with a Progressive! Seems you have forgotten that the term “Progressive logic” is right in there with the term “Progressive morals”. They are two of the Worlds ultimate oxymorons!

      • Doc Sarvis

        Ted C. another deflection of my straightforward point.

      • Opal the Gem

        Doc there was neither a point or anything straitforward in your post.

  • Cannon 12pounder

    I say that the governor should send in the state’s national guard to provide protection from federal law enforcement types and the town send in their repair crews. Forest service and blm be damned.

    • Ted Crawford

      That would play right into Obamas hand Cannon! He would like nothing better than to declare Martial Law. With the power he granted himself with EO-13524, he could move NATO troops in and not have to depend on domestic forces to inforce it!

      • Deerinwater

        You are so smart! can I have your autograph?

  • Charles

    Get the damn pipeline fixed! Nuff said.

  • jimster

    Just do it

  • simian pete

    Nothing gets done in Arizona. It seems the Federal Government, for some reason, want this State to disappear !

  • GilaMonster

    I think this article needs more clarification of the existing problems. First Tombstone established water rights in the Huachuca mountains in the 1880s. They built reservoirs in the mountains to hold the water. They laid an aqueduct pipeline from the mountain across the desert for 25 miles to the town of Tombstone. This was done many years before the Forest Service laid claim to the mountains and long before the Wilderness Act. The City of Tombstone should be “grandfathered in” for their rights of way to their water system. The current problem is not so much with the pipeline which is easy to fix, but with the reservoir system in the mountains that has suffered damage due to years of neglect and the recent fire in the area. Tombstone has tried to bring in heavy equipment to fix the reservoirs but has met with resistance from the Forest Service. Also some of their equipment has been vandalized by tree huggers. The arsenic levels in the Tombstone wells are just barely over the limits set by the ADEQ.

    • Pat

      it’s time to take a stand; lawfully first if possible, than with force if needed as we have now become a nation of men and not laws as can be seen in the Federal Government I’m sure an old time posse with guns can be put together and guard the pipe rebuilding project from the feds and the tree huggers Of course, once rebuilt it will need to be guarded full time as the tree huggers will blow it up; Just look at the gas pipeline in Egypt. Time to refresh the tree of liberty with some blood.

  • ranger hall

    The State of AZ needs to get the job done, Peoples welfare is first over animals/Birds in an emergency, Not that much damage would take place, Mother nature would come in and correct any damage done, Besides a road along side the pipeline would make since for future work on the Pipeline, Same as allowed for Power Lines Etc.
    AZ get the job Done, But LAWYERS will make money on this,
    By the way who gets paid for this water, State or Private water Companys.

  • Jerry Marshall

    We can thank SLICK WILLIE and his unprecedented LAND GRAB in 1998, and the LEFTISTS that give a piece of sagebrush and a horned toad lizard more rights than humans!
    Of course, if this was in any other State, than Arizona, the Feds might make an exception, but there is no secret that OWE-BUM-MAO has no love for Arizona, or it’s residents!
    What ever happened to the LIB-TARD’S big government taking care of the people? I guess if you’re a LEFTIST, the Government will take care of you, but if you object to any of their IDIOTIC policies, they turn their back on you?

  • HDMania

    It seems that the feds have a vendetta against long as Arizona goes against fed law the feds will hassle Arizona any way they can..its like the Washington bully..I say do what you have to do and f–k the feds..

  • LK

    Food,Water,Land and Gas This ICLEI is an U.N. international organization with an extreme environmentalist bent, which desires to impose its socialist vision of Agenda 21 EPA It is. State has rights over fed gov when in an emergency ! Look it Up.

  • CA

    This is the kind of insanity we have to deal with when Federal agencies are allowed to make “rules” that carry the weight of “law” even though Congress never looks at the “rules” or even votes on them.

  • Art

    When are the people get some balls and take back their cities and states from the government, I”d like to see the government start shooting american citizens for getting the water they need, boy that would really start the revolution.

    • Deerinwater

      What? beg your pardon? “Take back?” drink all that you want sweetheart.

      Don’t go crapping in your pants and depend on the rest of the nation you clean you up.

      Your ground water quality is your problem unless you wish “help” .

      Telll us want you want!!!! if it’s too big for you to handle, there is people that understand.

      They are called the DNC.

      • Sirian

        Oh yes, if you need any help, they understand exactly how to help you. Uh huh, the one and only DNC – Dimwitted Nationalistic Communist party. Yep, that sounds pretty good.

  • teaparty13

    I have an AZ flag that has the rattler with “bite me” on it, think I’ll start flying it here in very liberal NY..we have to show solidarity to AZ .

    • Deerinwater

      The two states have nothing in common, but what the hey? If it works for you, who am I to interfere?

      You sound like a shut in in your great state.

      • Opal the Gem

        If he sounds like a shut in you sound like a petulant 6 year old.

  • teaparty13

    Tombstone also called the “town too tough to die” hopefully it will continue.

    • Deerinwater

      Right! the town of perpetual misery and little has changed.

  • simian pete

    The Federal government shut off the water to the farmers in California back in 2009. So I figure shutting the water off in Arizona is much easier.

    Doesn’t look good. To bad the state of Arizona is so divided politically.

    • Fred

      You can either die as a sheep or die as a wolf. But die for lack of water you will. Are you going to sit there like a lump or band together and do something? What’s wrong with a citizen posse to rebuild this thing?

  • FreedomFighter

    This thing stinks of “stupid”.

    Agenda 21 at work

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

  • illy

    THIS Is exactly Why we need Ron Paul…. but hey, if people cant take care of themselves i guess its best for the gobment to lay 1000 s of ridiculous rules on us.

  • Gaylen Tibbitt

    Well the answer lies in the Constitution. And it doesn’t say the federal government has ANY authority to regulate water in a state. So that authority falls to the states and the people. It’s as simple as that. Any other ruling than that is unconstitutional and is null and void on it’s face, and the judge needs to be thrown out of office and face further charges.

    Every case involving “the state” the “United states” the “County” or “City”, needs to start with the judges oath being presented as Exhibit A in the case. Since the judge swears to uphold the Constitution. That converts these pretend courtrooms into a constitutional court, where the Constitution is supreme law of the land again. Instead of this pretend court system we have now that follow statutes, codes, regulations and so on, which are only “color of law”. The ONLY way laws can be created are by Congress. The rest are NOT laws. And if “laws” created by “Congress” are unconstitutional, then they are null and void on their face too. So people, get out there and make the Constitution the supreme land of the land again. They’ll get the message after a few of them get thrown out of office for not upholding the oaths. That is, if they even filed an oath and bond, in which case nothing they have ruled on is lawful. Hope you guys get the message here, and spread it like wildfire. Kind of ironic in the case huh? :-)

    Get those oaths and bonds and turn this country around. Make them uphold the Constitution or sue them for their bonds and make them have a early retirement and face any further charges the other judges see fit after seeing what you did to that judge. ;-)

  • ranger hall

    OATHS are only as Good as the Men Or Women swearing to to them.
    I dont think the People would allow NATO troops to control anything in this Country.
    IF we did, we would no longer be the USA.

  • ranger hall

    CONGRESS, Now most of us agree these People are the ones to Blame, So we need to get these People to do the jobs they were elected to do, If not then WE need to see that they are no longer the Problem..

  • Don Cordell

    How does the Federal Government own any land in any state? The Feds only own Washington DC, nothing else. If we do not step up and put down the Feds, we will all be subjects of the Crown of Thorn Federal Communist Party. It’s time to ReVote, to ReStore America. HOW, visit “Don Cordell for President” on Google and learn how. There is not one Republican candidate that is going to do anything to restore our nation. AND there is no one that is going to challenge our illegal Obama to throw him out of office. He was bought and paid for to lead this nation to destruction, and he’s winning. It is time we get up and march with pride down our streets and retake control of OUR nation. When they disarm us under Public Law 87-297 it will be too late. Are you better off than you were in 1960? When Kennedy was elected? When they took our Social Security fund to balance the budget, and took the Silver out of our Coins in 1964? We have elected Traitors to lead our nation since 1908, with the Federal Reserve Banking system, and two world wars, plus Police Actions over and over. If we don’t save America in 2013, it’s all over.

    • SeldomSeen


      Dontcha remember that before this great State was a state it was federal territory? Lots of the land in the territory didn’t become State land (even if the water did). The land your house sits on was undoubtedly federal land before it became private via a ‘patent’ of some sort.

      Just like the gas company can’t unilaterally plow up your yard to repair the gas line the own, a water right holder can’t unilaterally plow up someone else’s land when they need to repair the waterline they own.

      One can wish all sorts of things, and all sorts of things maybe ‘otta’ be ‘right’ some other way from one’s personal perspective, but the laws (all of ours) are the laws (all of ours), and until we each get what we unilaterally want we have to abide by our laws.


  • 2¢ worth…

    You think this is bad? What do you think the Feds will do once the oil pipeline begins operations along the proposed route that all the frogs want and all the citizens are whining about when it bursts open along the Aqua duct that supplies the water for most of America? Think they’ll give a $hit any more than these turds? Think again people! We would like the pipe line but we need to place it (even if it veers off the beaten path) in such areas where people won’t be dying from either contaminated water or of thirst because we can’t drink the water else die.

  • andi starks

    The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me. Ayn Rand.
    Just go get your water and don’t stop til it’s done. Just make sure the Sheriffs department has your back. Why does everything have to be sooooo difficult?

  • Tammy Guida

    Agenda 21 anyone? Read about what ski resorts are going through…they are also suing the Feds for their water rights. America is in trouble.

    • Fred

      How about just not complying with all of the “rules” that are not laws but regulations disguised as law? Civil disobedience does work; look at Ghandi, King, Rosa Parks, etc. We need to stand together or we will hang separately. The so called Federal Government is poking and prodding us to stir up the rabble, meaning us. This is just one front of many going on; look at the farm bill, the swimming pool bill, the TSA. This will only end one way.


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.