You asked, we acted.Our members and supporters have asked us again and again what we are going do to stop the Seven Springs/Nestle consumptive use permit and protect the Santa Fe River. You sent postcards, made virtual comments, bought stickers, t-shirts, and mugs, and put your faith in FSC to act on your behalf.
Today the Florida Springs Council (FSC) and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) filed a legal challenge seeking to overturn the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Governing Board’s approval of a consumptive use permit for Seven Springs Water Co. to provide nearly a million gallons of water per day to Nestle’s bottled water operation. FSC and OSFR have put together a talented team of attorneys and advisors to represent us, and you, in this important legal challenge.
Our petition argues that the SRWMD was required to deny the Seven Springs/Nestle consumptive use permit for two reasons:
First, Seven Springs Water Co., who applied for the permit, does not own or control the bottling facility where the water use will occur. Nestle does, and under District rules Nestle must be the applicant. Why does this matter? Because without Nestle being on the permit the SRWMD has no way to assure the water will be used efficiently or to make Nestle follow the rules. Can we really trust Nestle to use our water responsibly and follow the rules?
Second, the SRWMD Governing Board failed to consider whether issuing the consumptive use permit was “consistent with the public interest” as required by SRWMD rules and Florida Statute. The SRWMD rules define “public interest” as the “broad based interests and concerns that are collectively shared by members of a community or residents of the District or State.”
There have been over 19,000 comments submitted to the District expressing the interests and concerns of the community and residents of the State, yet these interests and concerns were not addressed in the permit application or by the SRWMD Governing Board in making their decision to grant consumptive use permit.
The SRWMD Governing Board cannot blatantly disregard the people they are appointed to serve or the waters they are tasked to protect. If going to court is the only way to make them consider our interests and concerns, then that is what we will do. (Pictured, attorney John Jopling)
Fund the Fight
Once again, the Florida Springs Council and Our Santa Fe River are stepping in where our state agencies have failed. We couldn’t do it without you and we need your support more than ever.