They Sue, We Pay – Enough is Enough
To the Editor:
Our economy, our residents, and our way of life here in Cochise County are under attack. Those of us who are from here or have been here for a while realize that we can have balance between industry and the environment. Unfortunately, there are a growing number of voices in Tucson, Phoenix, and from out of state – some of which have never set foot in Cochise County – who disagree with that.
Groups like the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and their counterparts in the Maricopa Audubon Society have continuously attacked our rural way of life by attempting to control how we use our land and water. This campaign has a mission to, as they describe, “inflict severe economic pain” on our community.
Central to these attacks is the continued existence of Fort Huachuca. Water is central to most of their attempts to close the post. This is despite the fact that the post continues to operate using progressively less water each year.
Fort Huachuca is the largest employer in Cochise County and is the source of almost $3 billion dollars of economic activity. With all that happening in the economy, shifts in mission funding, and all sorts of uncertainty, we cannot afford to lose this critical part of our economy.
The CBD and their counterparts want people to believe that the environment and industry cannot coexist. This is a lie. As both an environmentalist and an unapologetic advocate for economic development, I want you to know that we have this balance. We can continue to develop responsibly in Cochise County and still have a robust ecosystem.
We simply cannot continue to let outside interests dictate how we live.
Who pays in the long run? We do. Government spends countless taxpayer dollars defending these suits while tax collections evaporate. This happens while families struggle to make ends meet and small businesses that depend on the base close their doors. None of us can afford to continue to sit back and see how this pans out.
The stakes are just too high. We need to step up and make our collective voices heard. Talk to your friends and neighbors, post your views on social media, and write editorials.
Don’t stop there. Join me in letting our local, county, state and federal elected officials know that we expect them to act on this. They are a critical voice in this fight. We need them to step up and demand that these attacks on our way of life and our very existence. Don’t stop until they stop.
Executive Director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, Aerospace Arizona