Wilton Simpson taps West Gregory as Department of Agriculture’s Water Policy director
Wilton Simpson seeks to

'West Gregory has the unique experience and skillset ... to set a new, cooperative tone with our colleagues at the Department of Environmental Protection and other key stakeholders.'

Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, is turning to former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lawyer West Gregory to oversee the water policy in his Department.

Gregory, who most recently served as DEP Deputy General Counsel, was named as director of the Office of Agriculture Water Policy by Simpson on Wednesday.

“West Gregory has the unique experience and skillset — having worked in the Florida Legislature and at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection — to set a new, cooperative tone with our colleagues at the Department of Environmental Protection and other key stakeholders,” Simpson said.

“Florida’s continued prosperity is dependent on Florida’s leaders providing a long-term, comprehensive, and science-based approach to protecting and restoring our water resources, and I’m confident West Gregory can help Florida achieve this vision.”

Simpson’s hope for a “new, cooperative tone” with DEP comes after he replaced Democrat Nikki Fried — who ran unsuccessfully for Governor, as Agriculture Commissioner following the 2022 elections. Fried had appointed Christopher Pettit  a former South Florida Water Management official, to the water policy director post after taking office in 2019.

But Simpson himself has clashed in the past with DeSantis on water and environmental issues. As Senate President, Simpson pushed a major water bill last year as one of his top priorities. That bill would have allowed the Legislature to stop funding of some state water projects if the Southwest Florida Water Management District turned over more Lake Okeechobee water rights to the federal government.

The bill was changed after DeSantis slammed the legislation and the process behind it. Despite the changes, he vetoed the bill.

Gregory, who received his law degree from the University of Florida with an environmental and land use law certificate, had worked at DEP for the last four years, and prior to that had a four-year stint as senior lawyer for the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

He will now oversee a division within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that develops agricultural best management practices for water quality and conservation in conjunction with DEP, the agricultural industry and state universities.

Gray Rohrer


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