Hundred of Thousands Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit

nest petitions press R MMJ In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Photo credit George El-Salawy and SumOfUs

A total of three hundred eighty-four thousand (384,000) signatures against Nestle’s permit renewal brought by SumOfUs, which included two hundred twenty-six, two hundred eight thousand (226,208)   from Change.org brought by Lindsey Dank and Amanda Sapp were handed over to Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of the Suwannee River Water Management District Tues. Dec. 10 in Live Oak.

The permit was not on the agenda, but Allison Guy, representative of the international environmental group SumOfUs flew in from Washington D.C. to hand over the petition signatures.  The Seven Springs Water Company got the message that the people in this area and around the world do not want them to pump the public’s water from Ginnie Springs and then sell it.

The permit would allow Seven Springs to further draw down the Santa Fe River, which is below its minimum flow already and thus is in recovery.  This pumping would delay the restoration of this iconic water treasure in North Florida, and while damaging the river recovery, make Seven Springs and Nestle richer.  This at the expense of the river and the public.

A press conference took place outside the district’s headquarters before the 9 o’clock meeting and then a large group headed inside to speak during public comment.  Approximately 30 people spoke, all against the renewal of Seven Springs’ water  permit, taking about two hours to do so.

Cindy Swirko of the Gainesville Sun has written an informative article about this meeting, which we are including following our photos.   Her complete article can be found here in the Gainesville Sun.

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


nest petitions lo sign in In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
There is a crowd at the sign up table.

 

nest petitons lo Allyson In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Allison Guy gets the attention of the board with the box of 384,000 signatures.

 

nest petitions lindsey In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Lindsey Dank* of Change.org brought 226,208 signatures opposing Seven Springs permit renewal.

 

nest petitions kate G In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida    nest petitions karen In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida        nest petitionss kristin In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Kate Gallagher*  Melrose          Karen Mullins*, sang a song          OSFR Kristin Rubin*

nest petitions shirley In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida     nest petitions lucy In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida           nest petitions laura In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Danny Arnold, Shirley Noel, from Orlando          Lucy Anstey*                      Laura Dailey*

 

nest pepitions pam In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida              nest petitions hilda In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida                   nest petitions wayne In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Ex-President OSFR Pam Smith*    Hilda Gilchrist*    Amigos Dive Center and champion river cleaner Wayne Kinard

 

nest petitions martha In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida nest petitions isaac In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida  nest petitions russy In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Martha Strawn*        Isaac Augspurg*, wise beyond his few years   Russ Augspurg*, grandfather of Isaac and one of the founders of OSFR

 

nest petitions billie jo Copy In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida  nest petitions jane2 In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Super Volunteer Billie Jo Benedict         Ex OSFR board member Jane Blais*

 

nest petitons mericle In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida nest petitions mmj4 In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Sierra Club Chris Mericle*             OSFR board member & event organizer Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson*

 

nest petitions In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida nest petitions mike In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Sierra Club Maxine Conner*                       OSFR President Mike Roth* gears up for battle

nest petitions cindy 1 In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida                     nes petitions maryvonne In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Mike Roth* & OSFR treasurer Cindy Noel             Sierra Club Maryvonne Devinsky*

 

 

nest petitions patty In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida         nest petitions pat burke In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Beth Arlyle and Patty Street, OSFR secretary       Ichetucknee Alliance Pat Burke

nest petitions cindy N carol B In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida       nest petitions bruce In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
CAPM Cindy North and Carol Burton                Bruce Karcher

 

nest petitions colson In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Board members have not been addressed by a mermaid before, and look befuddled  (with the exception of Mr. Jones who is unaware). Michelle Colson* swims amazingly fast and far.

 

nest petitons jsq In: Hundred of Thousands  Sign Against Nestle/Seven Springs Permit | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Suwannee RiverKeeper John Quarterman* is a familiar face at the group which decides the fate and well being of the Suwannee and Santa Fe.

These people are out there fighting for your water, your springs and your rivers.  Most get not a penny in return, and some drive long distances.  We appreciate them all.

Attendees who addressed the board indicated by *

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



 

 

 

Nestle opponents ask water district to deny bottling permit

By Cindy Swirko

Posted December 10, 2019

[email protected]

LIVE OAK — A mermaid and a bear warrior were among the few dozen people who urged the Suwannee River Water Management District Tuesday morning not to approve a permit that will enable Nestle Waters to bottle more than 1.15 million gallons of water a day out of Ginnie Springs.

Speakers presented two separate petitions — one signed by 384,000 people worldwide collected by the group SumOfUs. People

who live on the Santa Fe River or who splash in the springs spoke. A grandfather and his grandson spoke.

And so did professional mermaid Michelle Colson, in a shimmery long skirt and a headband made of shells.

Anyone who has been to Weeki Wachee Springs knows mermaids are real and, in Florida, springs are a favorite haunt. Colson spoke against issuing a permit, saying it will degrade the Ginnie Springs system.

“We are continuing to allow permits to go through without realizing what we are doing to our springs. I cannot and will not sit idly by,” Colson said. “I am professional mermaid by trade and I go to a lot of parties for children. When I go, I talk to them about the springs and share with them the wonders that are here in our backyard. They absolutely, 100 percent scared…”

Seven Springs Water Co., formed by the family that owns the Ginnie Springs Park, wants a renewed permit that will continue to allow it to pump up to 1.152 millions of gallons a day to a nearby Nestle bottling plant.

The permit under which the plant was operating allowed that volume, but neither Nestle nor previous owners have pumped that much. However, Nestle is planning to add more lines that could enable it to bottle more water….

The Santa Fe River system is under a district recovery plan to try to restore its health, which has been impaired in part by a decrease in water.

Nestle Natural Resource Manager George Ring recently told The Sun the company is a good steward of water, adding the business depends on a healthy supply of clean water.

The company said it provides a public service by supplying bottled water.

However, the Guardian newspaper reported last week that a Michigan appeals court ruled against Nestle in a suit involving a city that blocked permitting for a Nestle pumping station. The court ruled the company is not providing an essential public service and is not public water supply.

Opponents have said it’s unfair for the company to profit by bottling water that’s needed by everyone.

A state legislator recently filed a bill that would tax companies that bottle water.

Johns let everyone speak who wanted to. It took about two hours.

Most of the speakers said they live in the region and frequent its many springs and the Santa Fe River. Several said they have seen it degraded over the years through increased algae growth and decreased water.

“Over the span of time I’ve lived on the river I’ve seen the water quality decline. The water quantity varies as we all know but it also declined. It’s double trouble,” Pam Smith said. “You have to draw the line somewhere.”

Teenager Isaac Augspurg, who said he was told to never let school get in the way of an education, has been educating himself on the aquifer, springs and river.

Augspurg — whose grandfather, Russ Augspurg, also spoke — said the springs are worthy of protection.

“My mom grew up on the beautiful Santa Fe and … she’s told us stories of the Santa Fe and springs when she was growing up, and what they looked like,” Isaac Augspurg said. “As I’ve gotten older and become more informed about the world … you realize that the people in charge don’t always do the right thing. You realize that there is not much that is sacred.”

He urged the board, “on behalf of my generation,” not to issue the permit.

Katrina Shadix, director of the bear advocacy group Bear Warriors United, said the group hopes the board denies the permit.

“But if you don’t we will consider it the first shot fired in Florida’s continuing water war. We will fight and we will win,” Shadix said.

They will have help from Colson’s group.

“Mermaids are not going down without a fight on this,” Colson said.

3 Comments

  1. When SRWMD approves a permit they are supposed to also consider does it impact previous permit holders. Either they don’t care or don’t listen or do research, as I have made numerous complaints 3 wells later, several sinholes, sometimes the water in the river is so low a few places you can walk across and go to cedar key and see how low water flow affects their clam and oyster season.

  2. I have been watching the small lakes and ponds dry up all over middle and northern Florida for twenty+ years. Time for a change is now!! No Deal Stop harvesting water for big corporations

  3. Bottled water is a very poor response to humans’ need for water.

    We need to change our water needs culture AND infrastructures so we CAN get good quality local water access points everywhere where we now use bottled water.

    This will allow for a decentralization of our water sources and, eliminate the current situation where one local source is tapped into to supply geographical areas far away from that source.

    The current strategy to meet our water needs certainly serves our current bad habits of relying on bottled water. And it most certainly serves the financial interests of whoever profits from this scheme. But it is not sustainable long term and therefore, it is shortsighted.

    Please, deny that permit and, instead, embark on a plan to change our water needs culture by…

    1) Building local water access points where there are presently none, like State parks, etc.

    2) Organize a sustained publicity campaign to help people change their drinking water habits. If new, more sustainable drinking water habits are formed and practiced for long enough, they will become part of our daily routine and substantially contribute to solve at the root the current dilemma of opening up public resources to private interests.

    3) Create various programs to incentivize the use of better drinking water sources and move us away from bottled water. Bottled water should be the rare exception we resort to, not the widespread default strategy it is now.

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