Florida reclaimed water bill passes Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee

01/17/12 Janelle Irwin
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A bill before the Florida House would strike reclaimed water from the definition of what kind of water belongs to the state. Reclaimed water would instead be owned by the water utility. It passed the agriculture and natural resources subcommittee this afternoon.

Representative Dana Young, a Republican, is sponsoring the bill. She said if signed into law, the bill will make it easier for utilities to use more reclaimed water. One of the ways Young said that will happen is by reducing red tape in the permitting process.

But opponents of the bill say it is a giant leap toward privatizing the state’s supply of reclaimed water. Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda was one of only two subcommittee members to vote against the measure. She said Florida is a model for the reclaimed water process, but policy makers should be more concerned with encouraging conservation and efficiency.

Today, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham spoke out against about bills that would allow water privatization. He said those types of laws would hurt Everglades restoration efforts. This legislation, called House Bill 639 still hast to go to the rule-making and regulation subcommittee and then the state affairs committee.

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