Nearly two decades of simmering conflict over water resources in CochiseCounty reached an explosive climax recently when bureaucrats with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued an unprecedented and stunning ultimatum to the state of Arizona: Stop development near the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA).
The federal government’s demand came in an ominous letter to the Arizona Department of Water Resources regarding a long-awaited residential construction project in Sierra Vista that received preliminary city approval nearly six years ago. The project would provide new homes to thousands of residents and would feature a water treatment plant capable of allowing over
4 million gallons of water to be recharged into the aquifer each day.
In spite of this, the BLM claims that the project should not be permitted because a sufficient water supply is not “legally available.”
The agency’s letter, and its choice to use the phrase “legally available” has chilling implications for all residents, property owners and property rights advocates in Cochise County as well as the entire country. By claiming that sufficient water for the development is physically available, but is legally the property of the federal government, the Obama administration is signaling its determination to control the water, not only within the SPRNCA, but anywhere near it as well. (emphasis added)
This blatant attempt to steal Arizona’s water begins a new chapter in a decades-long struggle over property and water rights in CochiseCounty. This struggle started with the creation of the SPRNCA in 1988, and has continued ever since. It has pitted property owners and civic leaders against federal bureaucrats and radical environmentalists determined to stop all private development near the SanPedroRiver.
While the current dispute revolves around one specific project, CochiseCounty residents should be under no illusion regarding what’s really at stake: the federal government’s ability to take away your water rights, and thus, your freedom to use your property as you see fit. We all want clean air and a clean, renewable supply of water, and we can have both without surrendering those rights.
If the BLM is successful, the federal government’s power to halt growth will be unfettered. Radical environmental groups, with their partners in Congress, will be able to create wilderness areas and no- growth corridors throughout the country and declare that any nearby supplies of water are “legally unavailable.” Certainly, this is not the kind of government our founders envisioned when they crafted the Constitution, with property rights as one of its core principles.
Now that the federal government has made its intentions clear, it is time for CochiseCounty residents to respond by telling their local, state, and, most importantly, federal leaders to stop the BLM’s water grab. If CochiseCounty and the state of Arizona stand firm against this blatant abuse of federal power, we can send a powerful message to policymakers in WashingtonD.C. that Arizona residents will fight for our property rights. On the other hand, if we submit without a fight, another precious freedom will be lost to unelected bureaucrats and their partners in the radical environmental community.
As the old saying goes, “He who controls the water, controls the land.”
These latest moves by the BLM show that, in CochiseCounty, the federal government is desperately trying to control both. — Gail Griffin, a Republican, represents Legislative District 25 in the Arizona Senate. http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/...ochise-county/
I live in Cochise County, about 1/8 of a mile from the San Pedro Riparian area .
Here's the thing. People who live here don't want these huge housing divisions. These companies come out to the middle of no where and want to build thousands of homes. Then demand that the small towns pay for all the infrastructure. Sure they are willing to build the roads and schools, treatment facilities and such but its the small towns that must pay them for the building of these structures.
I have to laugh when people from out of state fight over the water in the San Pedro RIVER,,,,Its not a river its a dry river bed. Its a "wash" when the only time it has water is when the rain run off is running in it. Any water they claim is there is in under ground aquifers. Right now people have 500' wells are going dry because the aquifers are so low. We have spots where the ground is sinking because the water that use to support it is no longer there.
I have been to the city council meetings and worked to keep those monster housing projects from being built. We dont need them or want them regardless of the landowners wanting to sell their $50 an acre scrub land to a corporation or millions because its the rest of us who will be in dept to these corporations till our great grand kids are grand parents.
That being said the federal government can F**k OFF. We are more then capable of taking care of our own water and who uses it. They can claim they own anything they want but come and take it and see what happens.
The federal government is also trying to regulate the Colorado river water in AZ. They haven't made much head way there either.
I guess they want to fight another battle , fighting us over our immigration law, Voting I.D and the health care crap isn't enough.
"Never let a dog watch your food or the government watch your money."
– Barry M. Goldwater, Jr
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