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Forest Service Demands $80,000 to Turn Over Public Records to Non-profit Group
Goldwater Institute ^ | May 1, 2012 | Press Release

Posted on 05/02/2012 5:24:35 PM PDT by inkling

Phoenix, AZ -- Transparency in the Obama Administration has a price. The U.S. Forest Service wants $78,935.80 before it will share public records the Goldwater Institute has requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Not only is the U.S. Forest Service blocking emergency repairs to the City of Tombstone’s Huachuca Mountain water supply, it is now hiding the documents that might explain its outrageous conduct. 

In a showdown with the “town too tough to die,” the U.S. Forest Service blocked Tombstone from repairing its mountain spring aqueduct after it was destroyed in the 2011 Monument Fire. The Forest Service is threatening the lives and properties of Tombstone residents and tourists due to the loss of adequate fire suppression capabilities and safe drinking water.

Now the U.S. Forest Service is punishing the Goldwater Institute for daring to file a public interest lawsuit against the federal government to restore that water supply. In demanding nearly $80,000 before turning over public records, the Forest Service has deemed the Institute’s lawsuit as proof of a “commercial interest” that disqualifies the non-profit Institute from securing a fee waiver under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We just want to know why,” said Nick Dranias, the Goldwater Institute’s constitutional policy director. “If there is a reason for the Forest Service to threaten the lives and properties of Tombstone residents, the federal government should tell us what it is.”

(Excerpt) Read more at goldwaterinstitute.org ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: arizona; federal; foia; forestservice; obama; states; tombstone

1 posted on 05/02/2012 5:24:46 PM PDT by inkling
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To: inkling
I'm guessing this is a case of Western Water Rights ~ and the law is different there than in the East (where it rains a lot).

That means the Forest Service is taking the water that is rightfully owned by Tombstone.

This little fee is a good place to start the battle ~ but I think Forest Service will have a very hard time getting a lawyer at DOJ knowledgeable in water rights to handle their case.

The final damages are going to be incredible in this case!

2 posted on 05/02/2012 5:32:59 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: inkling

Don’t they allow water rights owners to hurt those who unlawfully divert the stream?


3 posted on 05/02/2012 5:34:33 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: inkling

I agree this could be a great case to start a ‘state’s rights debate.

The constitution does not allow the national government to own property for other than defense and administrative use.

I say stake control of the land. Tell all federal employees to get off the land. Arrest those who don’t.

Don’t bother to go to court. Wait for the feds to move against you. (Some of us may take a vacation there this year)


4 posted on 05/02/2012 5:50:24 PM PDT by maine yankee (I got my Governor at 'Marden's')
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To: maine yankee; muawiyah; inkling

There’s a great little hilltop at the mouth of the canyon that covers the spring and access to it.

Just sayin’.


5 posted on 05/02/2012 6:20:14 PM PDT by HiJinx (A Higher Power is still just a false god.)
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To: HiJinx

Time to fill the pipes?


6 posted on 05/02/2012 6:22:33 PM PDT by sasquatch
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To: HiJinx

Is it public land?


7 posted on 05/02/2012 6:28:56 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: sasquatch

Ay-up...


8 posted on 05/02/2012 6:31:51 PM PDT by HiJinx (A Higher Power is still just a false god.)
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To: muawiyah

Used to hunt deer from there, until the housing developments encroached on the mouth of the canyon.

It is on National Forest Service land...as is the spring that feeds the water supply for Tombstone.

If you want to check it out, Google Beatty’s Apple Orchard in Miller Canyon, in the Sierra Vista area.


9 posted on 05/02/2012 6:33:38 PM PDT by HiJinx (A Higher Power is still just a false god.)
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To: HiJinx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_right ~ worth reading through as a brief on the matter. Noticed that there's an act that has the United States voluntarily agreeing to resolve water rights issues involving federal 'reserves' in state courts.

These folks are probably the first users and own the water!

10 posted on 05/02/2012 6:44:55 PM PDT by muawiyah
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11 posted on 05/02/2012 7:34:40 PM PDT by RedMDer (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=93)
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To: muawiyah
These folks are probably the first users and own the water!

That land more than likely devolved from old Spanish Land Grants to perhaps the Indians and then miners claims after the Gadsden purchase...which BTW guaranteed all previous boundaries and claims would be recognized. Very very unclear title searches there.

12 posted on 05/02/2012 7:47:58 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Don Corleone

Tombstone had their pipes working from this spring system in the 1880’s. Forest service water laws dates from 1964, Sounds like Tombstone is grandfathered. If I was in charge I’d fix the existing pipes which were damaged by a fire and let the feds take me to court over it. County sherrif is supreme lawman and can arrest any fed officer that gets in the way. Another poke in the eye from AZ to the Fed. I kind of like that!!


13 posted on 05/02/2012 8:13:25 PM PDT by timlilje
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To: Don Corleone

Fur Shur there go the water rights ~ Forest Service has a bear on its hands ~ many lawyers will become wealthy picking over the bones.


14 posted on 05/03/2012 5:05:54 AM PDT by muawiyah
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