DEP met with you are your consultant on three separate occasions: February 23, March 24 and April 4, 2011. DEP’s experienced engineers and scientists concluded that nothing presented during any of these meeting substantiated the claim that there is another viable alternative to relocating the discharge. Despite that fact, I am willing to have DEP’s District and Tallahassee personnel meet with you and your consultants again if you have concrete evidence that an alternative exists.

Orth says that although he is encouraged by Secretary Vinyard’s “willingness to work” on the issue, he disagrees “with the approach of moving on to the solutions before completely addressing the problem.”

We don’t believe that a solution can be determined, and that includes the pipeline, until we have identified and evaluated all of the sources of the pollution problems.

According to his letter, Armingeon and his staff have indeed presented alternatives to the pipeline at previous meetings, but were told: “they weren’t specific enough.”

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.

“Vinyard and his family live in Jacksonville, and I know he loves the river. I have also talked to several people that know him well and all speak highly of his character and integrity. So, I am hopeful that we will be able to overcome our differences and find a solution,” says Orth.

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