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High Springs Commission Backs Away

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

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.

OSFR president Mike Roth after being interviewed

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.

OSFR board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson prepares to be interviewed.

 

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