High Springs Commission Backs Away

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HSnestlefoyer In: High Springs Commission Backs Away | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
A crowd waits in the foyer for admittance into the crowded main room.

On Thursday night a packed house saw the city commission falter and waffle away from voting on a resolution of non-support for a permit renewal for Seven Springs to pump water out of Ginnie Springs to sell to Nestle.  Instead, they agreed to draft a letter expressing concern for our water resources.  This letter will be discussed at a future meeting.  Most commissioners seemed to agree that the amount pumped should not be increased.

After months of talking about the issue, the commissioners still had not done their homework sufficiently to inform themselves on how to vote.  They seemed not to understand that just because they were not issuing the permit, they could still go on record to protect the springs and river and thus the economy of High Springs.  Neither did they understand that our water agencies

HSnestlemaryhelen In: High Springs Commission Backs Away | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Alachua County commissioner Maryhelen Wheeler spoke for the resolution.

in the past have not preserved our springs for us, and that our water laws are written for industry to maximize water usage and minimize protection.


Some considered convenience as more important than plastic pollution, ignoring the existence of reusable water bottles which have been used for centuries.

Ironically, High Springs will be most affected if Nestle begins pumping the maximum amount of their allotted permit, which is four times the previous amount of water.

Testimony was given by paid Nestle workers that the company is all sweetness and light.  A quick Google search will reveal the tactics of this huge corporation which many describe as the opposite.

All in all, the argument for jobs and “just a little bit of water won’t matter” seems to have been the barrier for deeper thought from the leaders of High Springs who ignored dozens of their constituents last night.

HSnestlemike In: High Springs Commission Backs Away | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
OSFR president Mike Roth after being interviewed

Act NOW!*

Put the Right to Clean Water Amendment on the 2022 ballot


Seven OSFR board members were present and six of them spoke. Many other High Springs residents spoke in favor of the resolution, as did many others from Alachua County and local areas.  Anton Kernohan brought a large group of students from Gainesville.  Almost all those who opposed the resolution had some interest  (usually money) in Ginnie Springs, Seven Springs or Nestle.

HSnestlemmj In: High Springs Commission Backs Away | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
OSFR board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson prepares to be interviewed.


HScrowd In: High Springs Commission Backs Away | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


  1. hi, I’m new to this forum.

    I watched the meeting live streaming.
    about 1 hour and 56 minutes in Pete Butt spoke.

    Being commissioner is not an easy job. Ask any former commissioner. The sunshine laws in Florida prevent them from speaking with each other, as you and I would, about anything as they are preparing for a meeting. They of course, do research but get most of their information from the citizens who show up. Then they have to discuss and consider in front of everyone there and make a decision. In this instance they chose to revisit the issue so they could take the time necessary on such an important issue.

    Frankly, I applaud the professional approach they employed at this meeting. It could have gotten ugly. There was no name calling. It was very adult and deliberate. Everyone who wanted to got a chance to speak. I, too, hope they can come to a favorable decision.

    I am a resident of High Springs for over 20 years. I have seen the waters turn green and back again. I understand the ultimate urgency which is why I support this organization.

  2. The problem is that we can get rid of the commissioners who vote in favor of Nestle raping our waterways but the damage done by an ill considered vote will be permanent. The aquifer is already staggering under excessive pumping and is well below sustainable levels.

  3. Thank you for all you are doing on this issue. In the end, everything is political, I am afraid. Keep the heat on. Who is up for election in 2020? Get somebody good to run against them being motivated by this issue. We are finding in Central Florida that it is difficult to change things by doing what we are told to do as actively involved, good citizens. We need to populate these boards with WE THE PEOPLE. Otherwise, we are stuck with special interest influence rather than the will of the people.

  4. The City Commission is being absolutely gutless. They have completely abdicated their responsibility to the citizens of High Springs. They should be ashamed to show their faces in public.

  5. Spring clean water is a precious commodity that should not be sold for one company’s profit. I strongly oppose Nestle’s contract being renewed.

  6. I would like to hear from Pete Butt of Karst Environmental. Most of you know they had the contract to monitor the ground levels when the plant first opened. I was able to talk briefly with him and would like to sit down and see his numbers.

  7. The prevailing attitude, that just a little more damage won’t matter, will result in the springs and rivers “death by a thousand cuts”. That’s why you never see news that says the health of our resources is improving. We need commissioners that will take a strong stand for the environment, not cower to corporate power.

  8. Now you are seeing the true commissioners locals elected. Zero backbone. They collect a check. Do no homework and have no real idea how this is bad fir our water supply. I wonder who got to them this time?

  9. So where do we go from here, now that we know our city council is spineless and cares nothing for us or our planet?

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