Governor-Elect Rick Scott Names Herschel Vinyard as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection

By: Scott Transition Press Release
By: Scott Transition Press Release

Tallahassee, FL - In his continued focus on protecting the natural resources of Florida, while creating the best possible mechanisms for job creation in the state, Governor-elect Rick Scott today appointed Herschel Vinyard as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate and the Florida Cabinet.

Vinyard, who also served as a member of Scott’s Economic Development Transition Team, has a deep background in environmental compliance and innovation, having practiced environmental law for nearly a decade, while more recently serving as director of business operation for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards. This mix of legal expertise and service with a major Florida employer positions Vinyard to uniquely understand the need for strong environmental protection while ensuring that government and business find new ways to partner in growing the Florida economy.

“Herschel is a man of deep environmental knowledge and practical business experience. He has a love for our great state’s natural resources and a passion for job creation. He will effectively balance those interests for the benefit of all Floridians. We are fortunate to have recruited Herschel from the private sector into government service,” Scott said.

As an example of Vinyard’s focus on environmental responsibility and effective business practices, he provided counsel to BAE Systems in their recent, successful efforts to remove its treated wastewater outfall from the St. Johns River. That wastewater is now being used for irrigation purposes and eliminates a discharge to one of Florida’s most significant water bodies.

In addition, Vinyard led his company’s three-year effort to obtain state approval for a sovereign submerged lands lease. His experience in this complex regulatory proceeding provided Vinyard with new insights on the challenges businesses face in the permitting process and the need to provide a more efficient and streamlined mechanism to meet environmental requirements.

“Good environmental practices make good business sense. Not only can such stewardship better protect the resources around us, they often save money and lead to new innovation. Herschel has been on the front lines of such efforts and will ensure that Florida leads the nation in new partnerships between government and industry that save money, streamline processes and create jobs,” Scott said.

During his practice at one of Florida’s most well-respected law firms, Vinyard represented numerous clients in a myriad of complex environmental matters. His expertise includes the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act and liability issues associated with the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, as well as Florida’s statutory counterparts in Chapter 376 and 403. He is also a past chair of the environmental and land use law section of the Jacksonville Bar Association.

Vinyard is involved in a number of volunteer efforts associated with conservation and environmental protection. As an advisory committee member of the Northeast Florida chapter of the Trust for Public Lands, Vinyard helped develop a strategy to identify and acquire sensitive environmental lands. He serves on the Florida DEP’s Lower St. Johns River TMDL Executive Committee to assist in the development of a basin management action plan for that water body.

About Herschel Vinyard:

Vinyard has more than twenty years of experience in environmental law and business management. In his current role as director of business operations at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, Vinyard is responsible for strategic planning, business development and regulatory and government affairs. BAE is the world’s second largest defense contractor. He also serves on a number of professional and civic associations that draw upon his expertise in environmental and complex business practices. This includes board service on the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Manufactures Association of Florida. During his decade in private practice at Smith, Hulsey and Busey, Vinyard counseled clients in state and federal environmental compliance and permitting, was heavily involved in the siting of an electrical cogenerating facility and assisted in industry waste minimization efforts. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University.

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  • by JJ Location: McGillicuddy on Jan 13, 2011 at 07:31 AM
    Who needs environmental experience to enforce laws that are purely political in origin anyway? There is no science in these policies. They pretend to be but are purely political based on anti growth and development. They hire people with left-wing agendas who abuse their positions to further their socialist anti-private property ideals.
  • by D on Jan 5, 2011 at 07:01 AM
    Obviously, Scott has apointed this lawyer, Vinyard, to challenge the federal EPA's insistence that Florida clean up its waterways. He will head up that lawsuit, costing Florida short-term money, and long-term clean water. A lot of people in Florida don't think an extra dollar a month on their water bill is worth it to have clean, poop-free water, and springs that are healthier. Our springs are green now, and they used to be blue. Sad.
  • by Anonymous Location: Tallahassee on Jan 5, 2011 at 06:18 AM
    Are you kidding me? We are putting someone in charge of DEP who is also on a board that requires DEP permitting to expand and regulate it's ports!! Can you say conflict of interest? Sounds like the fox guarding the hen house.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2011 at 06:09 AM
    Mr. Vinyard is an awesome person and will be a great leader!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2011 at 05:47 AM
    Great choice. We look forward to working under the guidance of Mr. Vinyard.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2011 at 05:07 AM
    Here is more information about his newly appointed job. "He will replace Mimi Drew, a career environmental administrator who took over last year. The job involves running an agency that had more than 3,500 employees and a $1.5 billion budget for tasks ranging from regulating air and water polluters to operating the state’s park system."
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2011 at 04:59 AM
    Yes, Scott said he was bringing in a bunch of new people. I don`t recall hearing much about Mr. Vinyard but to have been connected with JaxPort, Jax Chamber of Commerce and being noted as a legal expert on environmental issues would tell you he will be pro-business and will be able to direct companies to use every legal loophole to avoid environmental regulations. This well may be the man who will tell Nestle to pump all of the acquifer water they want from anywhere in the state. It may be a good choice for Scott and his Cabinet but has potential to be devastating to the citizens and our natural resources and environment.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 3, 2011 at 07:52 PM
    Citizen, just in case you forgot, Scott campaigned and said he would be bringing in new people. What did you expect?
  • by K Location: Tallahassee on Jan 3, 2011 at 06:52 PM
    How much are we paying these new appointees from the private sector?
  • by Citizen Location: Tallahassee on Jan 3, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    So in other words Herschel Vinyard is another appointee from the private sector who has never held a public office or Public Job. Rick Scott totally does not understand the Office of Governor. He thinks it is the same as CEO of a company. It is not. He is filling these the way a CEO would of a company not as a Governor Should of a public entity.
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