Herschel Vinyard

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Herschel Vinyard
Herschel Vinyard.jpg
Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection
Former officeholder
In office
January 3, 2011 - December 2014
Base salary$140,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedJanuary 3, 2011
Appointed byGov. Rick Scott (R)
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sLouisiana State University
J.D.Louisiana State University
Office website
Herschel Vinyard is the former Secretary of Environmental Protection in Florida. He assumed office in January 3, 2011, following his appointment by Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He stepped down in December 2014 in order to take a job in the private sector.[1][2]


Prior to being named Secretary of Environmental Protection, Vinyard was director of business operations at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards. In this role he was responsible for strategic planning, business development and regulatory and government affairs. Vinyard has also been a private practice attorney, specializing in state and federal environmental compliance and permitting.[3]


  • Bachelor's degree, Louisiana State University
  • Juris Doctorate, Louisiana State University

Political career

Secretary of Environmental Protection (2011-2014)

Vinyard served as Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection from 2011 to 2014.

Resume questioned

In 2011, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Florida Clean Water Network filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency alleging Vinyard was in violation of a clause within the Clean Water Act that bars, "the appointment of any state decision-maker on pollution discharge permits in federal quality water programs who has during the previous two years received a significant portion of his income directly or indirectly from permits holders or applicants of a permit."[4]

According to the resume Vinyard submitted when applying for the position, he was director of business operations for a unit of BAE Systems in which he "counseled the company on major environmental permitting decisions." Vinyard was also chairman of the Shipbuilders Council of America, a group representing over 100 companies in the industry.[5] When the EPA initially investigated the matter, DEP general counsel said Vinyard only worked for BAE for two weeks and received little income from the company. However, on a questionnaire Vinyard submitted to the governor's office, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards was his primary employer from 1999-2011. According to PEER, the BAE unit held permits for national pollutant discharge elimination systems during the two years prior to Vinyard's appointment.

In September 2012, a letter from the DEP said Vinyard actually worked for the Classic Act company, which never held or applied for such permits. Jerry Phillips, director of the Florida chapter of PEER, pointed out the issue with this, saying, "His résumé doesn't show any mention of Classic Act. They're denying that [Vinyard] worked for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, a company that he swore under oath that he worked for. Neither the application or résumé show any mention of Classic Act. The letter he sent to the EPA does not include any proof of where he in fact worked."[4]



Vinyard was appointed Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection on January 3, 2011, by Gov. Rick Scott (R). Scott stated, "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."[2]

Vinyard was confirmed by the Cabinet on January 19, 2011.[6]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection
Succeeded by
Jonathan Steverson