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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.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
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.
“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.”
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.