The website for Southwestern Communities Coalition (SWCC) states: “America’s true stewards [of conservation] are private, working landowners who own more than 1.2 billion acres of farms, ranches and forests.” A news piece on AZPM on Sept. 25, 2019 about “Bisbee wastewater to recharge San Pedro River aquifer” says “the county is trying to reverse the significant groundwater draw down from decades of agricultural pumping in the San Pedro Valley.” How could “true stewards” of conservation manage to draw down significant amounts of groundwater such that a pipeline, at an estimated cost of $8 million, needs to be constructed to recharge the river?

The SWCC, which supports the Villages at Vigneto project, says it aims to fight for the rights of citizens to protect their property from “devaluation and outright theft by phony environmental groups that callously disregard this core American value. Can the homeowners of Benson really believe that large landowners and developers will fight for our individual property rights? Look at the valleys to the east and west of us for the answer. In Sulphur Springs Valley to our east, Big Money agriculture has drawn down the groundwater to such an extent that individual homeowners who are unable to afford the deeper wells they need must find alternative ways to get water – or abandon their property. In Green Valley to our west, groundwater has been largely depleted by the Big Money of mining and agriculture, and the city is becoming more dependent on water delivered by the Central Arizona Project. Benson homeowners: How valuable will your property be when our groundwater is depleted? How will it affect your kids’ future property values? When’s the last time Big Money ever took your rights into consideration? They will take the profits from what our limited groundwater allows them and then they’ll run, leaving you and your kids holding deeds to worthless properties with no water.

Environmentalists, using our country’s laws and court system to fight for what they believe is right, are not the Boogeymen that SWCC lays them out to be. They are a safer bet when it comes to deciding who is acting in the best interest of Benson homeowners’ property rights than a bet on big private landowners and Big Money developers.

Susan Phelps, Benson

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