Thursday, November 27, 2014

Florida environmental chief Herschel Vinyard resigns |

Big news today if the Florida environment is high on your list of priorities. The head of the Florida DEP resigned, apparently on good terms, and Governor Scott named his DEP deputy secretary the interim leader of the department. From the article by the Post's Christine Stapleton, click title for link: 
Herschel Vinyard, head of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, will not serve a second term under Gov. Rick Scott.
In his resignation letter penned Monday and released Wednesday — hours after the Palm Beach Post reported his departure — Vinyard congratulated Scott on his re-election and gave credit to the governor rather than himself for several of the department’s accomplishments of the past four years: ending two-decades of lawsuits over Everglades restoration, setting water quality standards for inland waters, budgeting money to protect springs and improving the state’s parks and trails.
[Later in article...]
Critics claim enforcement of the state’s environmental laws has plummeted under Vinyard’s leadership and special interests received favors in regulatory and permitting matters.
“We witnessed the wholesale retreat from effective regulation and a purge of the most expert scientists and regulators in the department,” Guest [David Guest, attorney for EarthJustice] said. “It is plainly the worst record in the recent history of Florida’s environmental protection.”
But Barbara Miedema, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative, praised Vinyard for establishing nutrient pollution standards that she said are based on science and for focusing on Everglades restoration lawsuits.