State senator proposes tax on water bottlers



Thanks to Cindy Swirko and the Sun for the quote from Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and the reference to OSFR, who has spearheaded the resistance to Seven Springs Water Company’s water permit renewal.

Nestle has been inundated with criticism and tons of negative publicity since coming on the scene.  The whole planet seems to love to hate Nestle for their world-wide bullying.

And we must correct Mr. Ring, Ginnie and the Santa Fe are not sustainable.

Read the complete article here in the Gainesville Sun.

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

State senator proposes tax on water bottlers


ANNETTE TADDEO In: State senator proposes tax on water bottlers | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Sen Annette Taddeo

Opponents of water bottling said the companies should not be allowed to withdraw the water and then make a profit off it without paying the state.

A state senator has filed a bill that calls for a tax on bottled water companies such as Nestle Waters, which is pushing for a renewed permit for pumping water at its Ginnie Springs plant.

Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat from District 40 in Miami-Dade County, on Tuesday filed Senate Bill 1112 to tax bottlers 12.5 cents per gallon they withdraw from state waters such as the aquifer and springs. The money would go into a trust fund for wastewater treatment and stormwater management.

Taddeo told The Sun Tuesday she believes the bill would bring fairness to the beverage industry in Florida and provide an infusion of money for the trust fund.

“They should pay no differently than the other bottlers like Coke and Pepsi. That’s where I got the 12.5 cents — I just want parity with other bottlers,” Taddeo said. “Obviously, (soft drink bottlers) are getting water from municipalities, but they are paying for it.”

Taddeo added that money for wastewater treatment and stormwater management programs would be eligible for federal matching funds.

Opponents of the Nestle plan applauded Taddeo’s action.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Our Santa Fe River, however, said the Ginnie Springs permit is a separate issue.

“I think (bottlers) owe it to our state to pay for the water that they are using to line their pockets. It’s such a wasteful way to use our fresh water but if they are going to do it, they should pay for it,” Malwitz-Jipson said. “That doesn’t give them carte blanche to take Ginnie Springs water. It’s still impaired and has problems.”

Water in the aquifer, springs and rivers is considered state water. The state does not charge for it — people on municipal systems are paying for the infrastructure to pump and pipe the water.

Opponents of water bottling said the companies should not be allowed to withdraw the water and then make a profit off it without paying the state.

Agriculture uses a lot of water, too, but the irrigation is generally considered a public good because it produces food.

Nestle staffers, in a recent meeting with The Sun, said the company provides a public service by supplying the demand for bottled water.

“If it wasn’t a wanted commodity, we’d be out of business. So you can say it’s not for the public good, but I would say that’s not the case because you have a demand for this product,” said George Ring, Nestle’s natural resource manager. “It’s a sustainable resource.”

Seven Springs Water Co., formed by the family that owns Ginnie Springs Park, wants a permit renewal to pump water to the nearby Nestle bottling plant. Ginnie Springs Park is privately owned, and is located in Gilchrist County, about 6.5 miles northwest of High Springs, in Alachua County.

It must pay a small fee for the permit, and Nestle pays Seven Springs an undisclosed amount for the water. Neither company pays the state for the water.

The permit application to the Suwannee River Water Management District has resulted in a flood of objections. Opponents are set to attend Tuesday’s district governing board meeting to present a petition with more than 150,000 signatures.

Opposition primarily centers on the condition of the Santa Fe River system, which includes Ginnie Springs. The district has developed a recovery plan to try to restore the health of the system, which is impaired in part because of lower water levels.

The current permit allows Nestle to pump up to 1.152 million gallons of water a day. However, both it and previous owners of the plant have withdrawn less than that.

Seven Springs’ renewal application is for the same amount, but Nestle in the future plans to expand its bottling operation so it can produce more water.

Nestle operates bottling plants in Florida at Ginnie Springs, Zephyrhills in Pasco County and at Blue Springs in Madison County. It owns many others across the U.S. and in other countries….


1 Comment

  1. I am so thoroughly angst ridden about this specific permitting. Just can’t even remotely see justifying any allowance of water being withdrawn from these precious sources for this asinine, profit driven, counter intuitive, horror show..
    I sent my 1500 word letter via the Suwanee River Water Mmnt Dst. I’d laugh but this is really a shocking portrayal of money and political gain further outpacing judicious and educated management of The Watershed. Where else might I contact those involved or influencial in this process? Is there a date on the final decision to be made and published?

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