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Some Cochise County residents blame Arizona Rep. Gail Griffin for blocking groundwater conservation progress

At a recent hearing hosted by Attorney General Chris Mays, Cochise County residents called on state officials to do more to protect Arizona's groundwater, accusing one local lawmaker of hindering progress. criticized.

Ann Carle and other Cochise County residents say large farms, dairies and lithium mines are sucking groundwater out of the earth and leaving it dry, causing the ground to shake and crack. reported.

“I reached an abyss, and it wasn't just a crack. I mean, at one point there was no path,” Carl said of a recent drive. “We had to turn back and it was dangerous. I'm glad we did it in daylight.”

Residents accused Rep. Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), the powerful chair of the House Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, of blocking a bill they say would protect water rights. Mr. Mayes, a Democrat, has strongly opposed drilling permits given to foreign companies in the past, but he proposed voting him out and vowed to take action if Congress refused.

“If the Legislature cannot get action this session, I will lead the vote. That is my promise,” Mays told residents.

Griffin, who represents much of Cochise County, attended the hearing but did not speak. She did not respond to requests for comment.

Cochise County is largely rural, and many residents rely on groundwater extracted from wells. Digging new, deeper wells to reach receding water can cost residents tens of thousands of dollars.

Howard Fisher/Capitol Media Services

Gail Griffin in 2022.

When a well dries up, the value of the property attached to the well also decreases. One resident said his neighbor's home on 20 acres sold for just $50,000 because his well ran dry.

“I'm worried that my health will wither away and my property will become worthless. … I'm just scared,” she said.

Maze spokesman Richie Taylor said more meetings will be held across the state, focusing on rural areas outside of regulated active management areas.

Mays asked residents about specific instances in which they had experienced problems such as light pollution, noise pollution or damage to homes caused by pumps.

She said her office has set up a department to address the issue and “will be as aggressive as ever.” [they] You probably can. ”

Taylor declined to say whether he was preparing to sue.

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