Should there Be Emergency Exceptions to Wilderness Act Restrictions?
In winter of 2011-2012, according to Bob Beauprez, former US Congressman from Arizona, heavy storms hit Southern Arizona’s Miller Peak Wilderness, causing massive slides that damaged or buried a long-established water source (since 1884) for the city of Tombstone, 26 miles away. Beauprez was interviewed about the situation on the Sharon Kleyne Hour radio show, May 15, 2012.
A large segment of the city’s spring-fed water supply lay inside the Miller Peak Wilderness. The city’s request for a permit to repair the system was denied because mechanized equipment is not permitted inside a Federal Wilderness Area.
Tombstone, a city of 1,400, was granted heavy equipment permits to repair the pumping station and two feeder pipelines just outside the Wilderness. Permits were also granted to repair 23 feeder pipes inside the Wilderness, but only with hand tools and pack animals.
The city eventually sued the Federal Government. In June, 2012, the court ruled in favor of the Federal Government, arguing that although the city’s water rights predate both the National Forest and Wilderness Area, Wilderness restrictions are well established and the Forest Service has the authority to regulate activity on their land. The court further ruled that the situation does not warrant an exception because Miller Peak is not the city’s only water source. The other sources, plus water from the two repaired pipelines, should be sufficient to meet the city’s needs.
The city is appealing.
The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water is broadcast live on Mondays, 10 a.m., PST/PDT, on Voice America/World Talk Radio, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes. For more information about Sharon Kleyne, Bio Logic Aqua Research and Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® go to http://www.naturestears.com. For downloadable summary and on-demand podcast if this interview, go to http://www.sharonkleynehour.com/Archive2012/Water_Crisis_1964_Wilderness_Act_Congressman_Bob_Beauprez.php
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