By BRENDAN FARRINGTON Associated Press April 06, 2018 05:52 PM - Updated April 06, 2018 05:53 PM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Gov. Rick Scott sided with environmentalists Friday by vetoing a so-called "toilet to tap" bill that would have allowed treated wastewater to be pumped back into the state's groundwater.
With that pen stroke, Scott avoided the epithet "Governor Poopy Water," something environmentalists had vowed to call him if he let the bill become law.
"Protecting Florida's environment has been a top priority during my time as governor," Scott said in the veto letter. "Florida has stringent water quality standards, and we are going to keep it that way."
Scott hasn't always been popular with environmental groups, and the decision will head off criticism as he prepares a run for U.S. Senate.
A group calling itself Citizens Against Contaminated Aquifer Water, or CACA Water for short, canceled a news conference scheduled for Monday in a last-minute effort to persuade Scott to veto the bill.
"I am surprised by this, for sure, and pleasantly surprised by this, of course," said event organizer Brian Lee, who chairs the Leon County Soil and Water Conservation District. "I hope that means he was listening to the people."
Several environmental groups urged people to call and email the governor's office in opposition to the bill. The Clean Water Network of Florida has used the slogan "Toilet to tap — let's flush it." That group and others used social media to promote the "Governor Poopy Water" nickname if Scott signed the legislation.
Proponents of the bill said that treated water injected into aquifers would have met federal drinking water standards and would have helped sustain water resources and supplies.
But opponents said federal water standards don't test for things such as pharmaceuticals, which could be spread through human waste.
Scott is expected to announce Monday that he'll challenge three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in this year's election.
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