Florida’s top environmental regulator shares his vision for agency

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Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard says his department must provide consistent and efficient permitting while not allowing environmental protection to slip, writes Bruce Ritchie.

In his first news media interview since becoming secretary in January, Vinyard told the Florida Tribune he’s still working on department priorities for the coming 2012 legislative session after not having priorities for the session last spring.

Vinyard is a former Jacksonville shipyard executive with no prior government experience. He stepped into controversy in June when DEP proposed building campgrounds for recreational vehicles at four state parks.

During the interview in his 10th story office in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building in Tallahassee, Vinyard said the department’s three pillars are ensuring regulatory consistency and certainty, “getting water right” and making sure Floridians have access to the state’s award-winning park system.

He said regulatory consistency should extend across DEP’s six district offices and the state’s five water management districts.

“Unless there is a regional geological difference that requires it, folks shouldn’t have to feel like they need an interpreter if they go across one water management district to the next,” he said. “I think we owe it to the citizens to be transparent about our rules and make sure they understand why we do things.”

But he also said…

Continue reading Bruce Ritchie’s story here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.