DEP's Jeff Littlejohn Violating Federal Clean Water Act, Says PEER Complaint

Categories: Politics
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Jeff Littlejohn, the No. 2 man at Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, is in violation of conflict-of-interest clauses contained within the federal Clean Water Act, according to a complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The complaint, submitted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, is the latest in a string of allegations that industry influence has entrenched itself deep within DEP under Gov. Rick Scott.

Before joining the DEP in March 2011, Littlejohn worked for nearly 11 years at Isiminger & Stubbs Engineering, where he specialized in permitting and environmental permit applications, according to his Linkedin page.

Littlejohn appears to have walked directly from his post at the private engineering firm into the cushy role of deputy secretary of regulatory programs at DEP.

The federal Clean Water Act, however, bars people from being appointed to posts where they'll be handling pollution discharge permits if they "received a significant portion of [their] income from permit holders or applicants for a permit" in the previous two years.

PEER requested that the EPA investigate the issue and see what types of permits Littlejohn was handling at the engineering firm.

Earlier this year, PEER levied similar allegations against Herschel Vinyard, secretary of DEP and the man responsible for appointing Littlejohn. Vinyard may have lied on his resume to cover up his employment history with industry permit holders.

"Pollution permits should be free from contamination by insider trading and influencing peddling," said a statement from Jerry Phillips, director of Florida PEER. "By contrast to federal no-conflict rules, Deputy Secretary Littlejohn looks like a merry-go-round of special interest connections."

Littlejohn, in fact, has special interest connections running through his blood. As the New Times previously reported, Littlejohn's father is Chuck Littlejohn, a powerful lobbyist who represents clients with enormous environmental interests.

A spokeswoman for DEP tells New Times that the agency plans to fully cooperate with the EPA should the feds decide to open an investigation on Littlejohn.




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