U.S. Supreme Court justice again denies Tombstone on water issue

June 05, 2012

A second U.S. Supreme Court justice has denied a request by the town of Tombstone to use heavy equipment to restore its water system.

This is the second time Tombstone has requested an emergency injunction – and the second time it's been denied. Justice Clarence Thomas rejected Tombstone's request to use bulldozers and other heavy equipment to work on its spring-fed water system that lies within the Coronado National Forest wilderness.

Much of the town's infrastructure system was damaged by last year's wild fire and mudslides. Since then Tombstone has been trying to get permission to rebuild the pipelines, but the federal government placed restrictions on how and where the work can be done. Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a similar request last week. 

Tombstone officials said Wednesdaythey will continue the fight to fully restore its water infrastructure. THey say they have restored some flow of water into the town and have connected -- with hand tools -- temporary surface pipes into three springs. But they're concerned the temporary work done so far could by destroyed by monsoons this season.

"We also hope to accomplish some more work this time, with some initial permitting from the Forest Service to allow us to do some protective work again, before the rains come," said City Clerk/Manager George Barnes. "I mean, we all know what happens up there when it rains, including the Forest Service, and I think they're probably a little concerned as well that we don't need to lose what little we have."

Updated 6/6/2012 at 5:01 p.m.