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Herschel Vinyard Jr. (L) with Rep. Corrine Brown and Robert Wilson (Flickr / Congresswoman Corrine Brown) Herschel Vinyard Jr. (L) with Rep. Corrine Brown and Robert Wilson (Flickr / Congresswoman Corrine Brown)  

Environmentalists demand ‘citizen’s arrest’ of Florida regulatory official

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Environmental groups are attacking the secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, claiming he has a conflict of interest because of his previous work handling water pollution matters.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, and the Florida Clean Water Network are claiming Herschel Vinyard’s work in the private sector for different businesses represents a conflict of interest and that he should be disciplined for it. The groups claim Vinyard provided false information to the Environmental Protection Agency about the matter too, prompting them to call for a “citizen’s arrest” of Vinyard.

“Mr. Vinyard is making decisions that affect our waters every day, and most if not all of his decisions over the past 15 months have reflected a pro-polluter bias,” Linda Young, the director of the Florida Clean Water Network, said in a statement. “As a regular user of our waters I am personally so unimpressed with our state and federal government’s level of concern over Vinyard’s disregard for the law that I think a citizens’ arrest is now in order.”

In response to the left-wing group’s accusations and demands, Free Market Florida executive director Ryan Houck pointed out their hypocrisy as the EPA is littered with people who are tied to advocacy groups they support. “If EPA is on the hunt for conflicts of interest they can start in their own building,” Houck said in a statement. “Many of EPA’s top brass have extensive ties to environmental litigation groups with a clear financial interest in the outcome of major permitting battles. Somehow, I doubt the Florida Clean Water Network or PEER will be calling for their firing.”

In a press release, Houck’s organization published a lengthy list of left-wing environmentalists it claims are in the same predicament as Vinyard.

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government told TheDC that EPA officials’ close relationships with left-wing advocacy groups is dangerous for the economy. “The revolving door between the environmental extremist groups and the EPA is shocking and sobering, when one considers the damage they continue to do to our nation’s economy.”

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