It’s time for Our Santa Fe River, Inc. to make a public statement about a Senate and House bill being debated in committees in Tallahassee. It is the one relating to severance fee or tax on bottled water. I have posted many documents below so that you may make your own conclusions on water bottlers use for free.
HB 681, presented by Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda
We feel that the time has come to make the luxury water bottlers pay a premium price for their mining operations in the state of Florida. The fee in the Suwannee River Water Management District for a CUP (Consumptive Use Permit) is @ $300 dollars for a 20 year permit. and in the case of Coca-Cola (CCDA), they were issued a 1,152,000 gallons per day allocation back in 1993 (they actually self-regulate and claim they only use between 350,000 and 660,000 daily). Yes, they pay taxes to the state for the business they run here, but any business of that size would be subject to the same taxes. Yes, they employ people, but any business of that size would employee people, and they are not immune to cut backs as they have had their fair share. We need sustainable development that doesn’t impact our natural resources. Nestle, at Madison County Blue Springs, operates at full throttle, pumping 1,470,000 millions of gallons of water daily. Their lovely spring has been downgraded from a 1st magnitude to a 2nd mag. Some would argue that agriculture has impacted the flow of the spring head. No doubt both have had devastating impacts to the vulnerable Floridan Aquifer.
The bottlers say if they get charged than so should any business using water, referencing agriculture as a smoke screen to their predicament. Do not allow this type of argument to get in the way of the root of this exhaustive argument. Agriculture is necessary to FEED to masses. Certainly best management practices are voluntarily being practiced now that we have a better understanding of how our water flows, it is not as RENEWABLE as one supposes thanks to drought conditions, man made or not. The water agriculture uses stays here in the form of irrigation.
Water bottlers, on the other hand, fill the plastic up and ship it out. If we were to support a tax that would mean Florida would lose millions in tax to other states and countries. We already lose our most precious natural resource to these mining corporations.
Yes, they mine the water. We have said this from day one. They stick a pipe in the ground and suck out a universal commodity, our most valuable resource, water…for free. This business depletes our Florida aquifer, creates sink holes, and often sucks the life out of a spring. It is not from surface waters, it is mostly clean-clear artesian water around here anyway that the bottlers dream of coveting.
Bottlers covet so much that once they get a permit they are free to continue to suck, even in times of drought when restrictions on residential use is limited. They also believe once they have this permit paper that all neighborhoods should simply lie down and allow them to exist because they claim they will be good for the community. WHAT? Trucks, noise, water depletion, plastic, good for them maybe, but not for it’s neighbors at all.
They say they are stewards of the surrounding land. In our area, they buy land alright, so that their product is protected. I gotta say that once the well runs dry…they’re gone without looking back and their land acquisitions will go right back on the market for whomever to do what’s legally available to them.
They sell the water for an exorbitant cost in a plastic container.