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Seven Springs and Nestle’s renewal of water pumping permit for Ginnie Springs approved

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 3:40 PM EST
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LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCJB) -The Suwannee River Management District governing board has approved Seven Spring Bottling Company’s bottling permit.

The permit was approved in an unanimous vote, 7-0, however, the board said the vote was issued under protest, stating they had no choice to vote the way they did.

RELATED STORY: Suwannee River Water Management District recommends to deny Seven Springs permit

This permit was heavily criticized and during the meeting’s public comment section, only three commenters were for approval of the permit. Those comments came from members of the Gilchrist County commission and from workers at the bottling company in High Springs.

Those against the permit ranged from a mother and son to someone in Colorado, who did not want to see more natural resources drained by Nestle.

The permit was issued under protest by board members because Nestle is not on the permit but they own the bottling plant.

Nearly a year ago, the district recommended permit be denied. After a series of appeals, a judge with the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings ruled in favor of Seven Springs.

Tom Reeves is a member of the board’s legal counsel. He spoke about why they had to approve the permit under protest.

RELATED STORY: Judge rules in favor of Nestle in Ginnie Springs permit debate

Reeves said, “It’s entered under protest because we disagree with the legal conclusions made by the administrative law judge, but they are outside of our jurisdiction.”

If Seven Springs violates the permit, enforcement action can be taken and eventually the permit could be revoked. With this vote, 984,000 gallons will now be pumped out of the springs daily.

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