Debbie Wasserman Schultz proposes a tax on bottled spring water

Debbie Wasserman Schultz official portrait 112th Congress In: Debbie Wasserman Schultz proposes a tax on bottled spring water | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Ginnie Springs and Nestle are getting attention in Washington and it is not good.  The truth is coming out and the outrage is growing.

Read the complete article here in the Miami Herald.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
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Amid Florida fight, Debbie Wasserman Schultz proposes a tax on bottled spring water

MARCH 10, 2020 06:00 AM 

A debate over spring water in Florida has Washington’s attention.

Broward Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Tuesday that she’s filing a bill that would levy a five cents per gallon tax on water that is extracted from springs or groundwater sources.

Wasserman Schultz’s bill, called the Save Our Springs Act, was introduced amid a fight between environmentalists and the family that owns Ginnie Springs, a popular recreational facility with crystal-clear spring water near Gainesville.

The owners of Ginnie Springs want to quadruple the amount of water pumped from the natural springs to a bottling plant owned by Nestlé, a move that Wasserman Schultz says allows a large business to profit from Florida’s natural resources without paying for it. Nestlé says its extraction and bottling operations provide jobs and taxes for local governments.

A hearing on Ginnie Springs’ permit change that could have expanded the amount of water pumped from the springs was scheduled for Tuesday with the Suwannee River Water District, but it was pulled from the agenda.

“For too long, bottling companies have drained Florida’s most precious resource for next to nothing,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “Florida’s aquifers are the lifeblood of our economy and a recreational staple of our communities. They can’t be treated like a corporate giveaway that has infinite supply any longer.”

Wasserman Schultz’s bill would result in a significant cost increase for companies like Nestlé, which extracts millions of gallons of spring water every day for bottled water brands like Zephyrhills. The federal tax revenue from bottled water would be directed to federal public water projects.

Wasserman Schultz’s bill is part of a larger effort by House Democrats to scrutinize bottled water companies. Last week, California Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda and Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib from the House Oversight Committee requested documents and information related to the bottled water industry’s practices, specifically regarding the extraction, bottling and selling of America’s groundwater….

“The bottled water industry doesn’t want the public to notice the environmental harm being done by their relentless extraction activities,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We need to invest in municipal infrastructure projects, protect our natural resources and stop pouring this precious public commodity into the coffers of corporations. This bill would help do that.”

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lex Daugherty is the Washington correspondent for the Miami Herald, covering South Florida from the nation’s capital. Previously, he worked as the Washington correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and for the Herald covering politics in Miami.

4 Comments

  1. It is not enough. Their own ads are feeble, how they manage 1100 acres of spring and never take more than nature provides. Over the long run, they do. It is the long term impact no one mentions or forgets. The river levels have already dropped over the years. Did Nestle impact this?

  2. Packaging water is plain lazy! People need to fill their own reusable water bottles and water coolers with paper cups. Let’s stigmatize the disposable plastic water bottle so that people stop buying them with an advertisement campaign like was done with cigarettes. Perhaps this will slow down companies like Nestles. Personally I don’t buy any of their products in protest to them steeling our water resources.
    Levy the taxes on them per bottle filled is a start and use the money against them in ads and other information campaigns.
    I see those White Water Trucks going up and down 441 constantly, and it breaks my heart to know they are full of our local resources and making money for the Ginnie Springs owners and Nestle Corporation. The citizens get nothing but plastic trash and low river volume that discourages recreational use which brings money to our towns. Let’s boycott Ginnie Springs and Nestles.

  3. These bottlers do not bottle by the gallon for the most part. And 5 cents a gallon does not account for all the waste bottlers generate, whether or not it makes into a landfill is no of matter. Somebody has to deal with it after it is empty, along with pallets, cardboard and cellophane wrap.
    They need to be charged per bottle, no matter what size, not per gallon.

  4. Good start but double or triple the tax. Better yet, don’t allow corporations to siphon off our resources for their gain at all. We don’t need to be buying our own water wrapped in plastic. Natural resources are becoming depleted worldwide and water conservation, tourism, water recreation and ecotourism is the future. We take care of what is precious to us so let’s see if we can protect our springs from corporate greed.

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