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.