Tuesday, April 2, 2013

US Forest Service, Tombstone, AZ fight over water access

There's an interesting legal case moving towards review by the US Supremes and it involves a dispute between the Arizona town of Tombstone and the US Forest Service.  Seems that Tombstone's water supply is located on federally owned land under the control of the US Forest Service.  Unfortunately a series of natural accidents -- first a forest fire and then a series of mudslides from moonsoon-level rains -- effectively cut off the water supply.  And when Tombstone enacted emergency measures to address the crisis, the US Forest Service impeded their actions.  Amazingly, Tombstone lost the first legal challenge to the feds policy; however, the great folks at The Cato Institute in Washington D.C. have joined with a collection of like-minded organizations out west in filing a legal brief with the Supremes.  From an interesting post at the Cato-at-Liberty blog explaining the circumstances:
Indeed, state sovereignty means very little if a federal agency can place a municipality’s existence under such great jeopardy. The Court should grant review because Tombstone’s ability to access federal land to repair its water infrastructure is a traditional government function reserved to the states and should not be trumped by federal authority under the Property Clause.
Hopefully the US Supreme Court will accept the case for review.