Monday, August 2, 2010

Florida's environmental chief says he's leaving for "other opportunities"

DEP's Mike Sole speaks to reporters on June 1 as Gov. Charlie Crist, right, looks on.

After working nearly 20 years rising through the ranks at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Secretary Michael Sole told Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday he is leaving the department on Sept. 10 to pursue other opportunities.

Representatives of counties, regulated industries and some environmental groups praised Sole's tenure as head of the department since 2006. His departure isn't a complete surprise since Crist is seeking a U. S. Senate seat and is not seeking re-election as governor.

Sole, who has helped lead the state's response to the Gulf oil spill since the session ended in April, did not say where he was going after he leaves DEP. However, in his letter to Crist, he did cite the capping of the well.

"Now that the … well has been capped, and Florida is on the road to recovery, it is necessary for me to announce my departure date of Sept. 10, 2010," Sole said.

He was appointed DEP secretary by Crist in December 2006 after having served as deputy secretary for regulatory programs and energy, chief of staff and director of the Division of Waste Management.

In a news release, Crist said he's naming Mimi Drew as interim secretary beginning on Sept. 10. She has been DEP's director of regulatory programs.

The governor, in a written statement, praised Sole for work on behalf of Everglades restoration, climate change and energy conservation -- as well as the oil spill.

Read more at the Florida Tribune:

(Story provided by the Florida Tribune. Story and photo copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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