For those of you not fortunate enough to see one of God's natural wonders, Florida has the most beautiful springs in the world. Florida is home to over 700 artesian springs, more than any other place on the planet. Some are large and popular, like Silver and Wakulla; many others are smaller and hidden. They are not only scenic. They are crucial to our economy (Silver Springs alone adds 61 million a year and supports over 1000 jobs) and, even more importantly, they are critical to our freshwater supply.
Naturally, they must be destroyed.
The photos of several of these springs today are heartbreaking. Yes, there has been unusual drought. Yes population is certainly a factor... but nothing can come touch the damage by our state leadership.
I wish I could say the problem was ONLY inadequate planning and protection. But that would mean the mindset would at least be to help these vital resources. No, the GOP's contempt for regulations has allowed nitrogen, phosphoruous, and other nutrients contained in run-off from storm drains, fertilized lawns, and septic tanks to completely slime them with algae and weeds. This has meant not only a nasty film on previously crystal-clear water, it also means choking the streams. Silver Springs has dropped to its lowest level in recorded history, and now has a green tint due to algae and weeds.
Naturally, Rick Scott and his teabag allies severely slashed funding for the state's water management districts. The limited money they have has so far been used to FIGHT environmental groups trying to reduce the nutrient pollution. Seriously.
If you think that is bad, consider this. The water management district Governing Board Members who hand out the permits are all appointees of Governor Cromedome.
Naturally, in thier zeal to allow as much overdevelopment as possible, we have a foreign company who actually expects crap that this to get through:
Now, a large-scale cattle operation and slaughterhouse is seeking a permit to withdraw over 13 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer -- more water than is used by the entire city of Ocala. Adena Springs Ranch would include up to 30,000 head of cattle in the springshed of Silver Springs, an area prone to runoff and leaching of nutrients and pollutants.
It will be allowed, that much I assure you. Why the hell shouldn't it? Horsby Springs at Camp Kalaqua was healthy and beautiful until a Walmart distribution center was permitted to be built in it's spring-shed.
And of course, do you guys remember this other GOP fiasco with Nestle not so long ago:
Nestle came into Florida and managed to pull off quite the coup.
The company got a permit to take water belonging to Floridians — hundreds of millions of gallons a year from a spring in a state park — at no cost to Nestle.
No taxes. No fees. Just a $230 permit to pump water until 2018.
Nestle bottles that water, ships it throughout the Southeast — much of it to Georgia and the Carolinas — and makes millions upon millions of dollars in profits on it.
Madison Blue Spring was already stressed... so the GOP allowed Nestle to pump millions of gallons from it... for $230... for the right to sell it back to us.
That's GOP leadership.