MEDIA ADVISORY: Nov. 18, 2013
DEP SECRETARY TOURS PALATKA FACILITY AND ADDRESSES PUTNAM COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
~Secretary Herschel Vinyard discusses the relationship between environment and economy~
PALATKA – Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. toured the Seminole Electric Cooperative Palatka Generating Station on Monday. Department staff is working with Seminole Electric to benefit Palatka and other Putnam County communities and protect Florida’s natural resources including the St. Johns River.
“Restoring the St. Johns River is a top priority for the Department and a complex challenge involving a diverse group of stakeholders working together, which includes representatives from Putnam County,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Today’s visit helps us to recognize some of the considerable progress that’s already happening to achieve our water quality goals, and to continue to focus on the important work that lies ahead for all stakeholders.”
This facility has been an active participant in the Lower St. Johns River Mainstem Basin Management Action Plan, which is the roadmap for restoring impaired waters by reducing pollutant loadings to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load water quality goals established in 2008. It represents a comprehensive set of strategies such as permit limits on wastewater facilities, urban stormwater discharges and agricultural run-off. These broad-based restoration roadmaps are developed with local stakeholders and are adopted by Secretarial Order.
The Palatka Seminole Electric Cooperative Generating Station has exceeded their restoration plan obligations by installing required air emission technology that reduced the amount of nitrogen being emitted. With that reduction, it allowed credits to be given to stormwater utilities in the various surrounding communities that are assisting them to further their BMAP progress.
After the tour, Secretary Vinyard addressed a joint meeting of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Economic Development Council. The Secretary focused on the vital relationship between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. He discussed how the Department has greatly improved regulatory processes to be more effective and how agency staff is developing relationships with customers to promote compliance with environmental regulations.