Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Under pressure from environmentalists, water privatization proposal scrapped

TALLAHASSEE — Under pressure from environmentalists, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, scrapped a controversial proposal Wednesday to "privatize" the state's treated wastewater.

HB 639 as originally written would have changed the definition of "reclaimed water" to place ownership with local governments and utility companies, something Buckhorn was pushing for to help replenish Tampa's water supply.

Environmentalists objected, saying the resource would no longer belong to Florida citizens, but to governments and utility companies that may be tempted to sell to the highest bidder.

So instead Young pitched, and unanimously passed by committee, a version that forbids water management districts, which control water for the state, from forcing cities and utilities to give away water they pay to treat.

"It has been a tremendous amount of work to get this bill here, but it should be," she said, after environmentalists and fellow representatives praised her for negotiating. "We're creating water policy that will affect every person in the state for years to come."

"Kumbaya," said Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, highlighting the mood change from the last meeting, when opponents testified sharply against the bill.

Next stop, House floor.

Buckhorn said he hopes the bill will help Tampa face its chronic water shortages.

The city dumps 65 million gallons of water into Tampa Bay every day that could be used in place of potable water for things like irrigating agriculture, washing cars and watering lawns.

He's more likely to invest taxpayer dollars in treating that water if he knows Tampa won't be forced to give it away, he said.

"It's a compromise I can live with," he said. "We protect our ability to control the reclaimed water, and at the same time, (environmentalist) fears are relieved."

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at bdavis@tampabay.com.

Under pressure from environmentalists, water privatization proposal scrapped 02/01/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 97X Next Big Thing expands to two days; Paramore, the Lumineers lead lineup

    Blogs

    This December, 97X is putting the big in Next Big Thing.

    The Lumineers
  2. Florida prison guards seize weapons, cellphones as statewide lockdown enters day 3

    Crime

    MIAMI — The unrest continued for a third day at Florida state prisons, as corrections officers — some of them armed — staged a show of force in an attempt to stave off an unspecified threat of violence this weekend.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Sen. Bill Nelson ready to campaign on GOP failure to fix Obamacare

    State Roundup

    For years, Sen. Bill Nelson has faced a steady barrage of partisan attacks over the Affordable Care Act, but as he begins the 2018 re-election campaign, the Democrat stands to benefit from a flipped script:

     U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson talks to local residents about the Affordable Care Act  at the Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse in Tampa, Florida on July 3. )OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times)
  4. Tiger Bay panel: End permanent revocation of voting rights for convicted felons

    Local

    TAMPA – A panel of elected officials and advocates including Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren argued in a forum Friday that Florida should end its practice of permanently revoking the voting rights of people convicted of felonies.

    Rep. Sean Shaw, D- Tampa, on the floor of the Florida House.[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  5. Temple Terrace Citizen of Year skips his awards banquet in protest of Confederate event

    Politics

    TEMPLE TERRACE — Travis Malloy was supposed to show up to the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club on Thursday to pick up his Citizen of the Year award at the Chamber of Commerce banquet.

    Instead, Malloy stayed away in protest.

    Travis Malloy declined to collect his Citizen of the Year award at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club on Thursday to protest the club's decision to host a Southern Heritage event with a War on the South program Sept. 2. Malloy was honored for starting community gardens and a farmers market. [Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce]