With public pressure mounting and the legislative session winding down, the Florida Senate shelved the controversial Aquifer Storage and Retrieval bill, which would have allowed utility companies to pump contaminated water into underground storage "bubbles," then pull it up, treat it and use it for drinking water `Watered Down, April 25`.
The move was a surprise, considering that both houses had overwhelmingly approved an earlier version of the proposal. But thanks to Rep. Jerry Maygarden, whose concerns brought about an exemption for northern counties, the bill went back to the Senate, where it died without a vote last week.
Critics feared the water would seep into the Floridan Aquifer, which more than 50 percent of the state's private wells tap untreated for drinking water. Proponents, including Gov. Jeb Bush, saw it as a solution to the drought. The federal Environmental Protection Agency had expressed doubts about the plan's safety.