January 5, 2012 -
Bottling companies extracting huge amounts of water from beneath Florida's soil would pay a 5-cent a gallon fee for the doing so under a measure filed Wednesday by Sen. Mike Bennett , R-Bradenton. The measure, SB 1432, would fine bottlers $500 a day for failure to comply. Fees and fines collected would be deposited in the state's Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust fund. The bill would only affect bottlers extracting more than 55 million gallons of water per year. Past efforts to tap bottled water as a source of revenue have met with stiff opposition from major bottlers like Nestle, and from the Florida Beverage Association. State officials in 2010 estimated that bottling companies draw about 3.5 million gallons a day from aquifers and springs. A proposed 6 percent tax included in a 2010 bill would have netted $43 million.