Photo by Mark Grandin. Reported by Bruce Ritchie, the Florida Current, Environmental groups welcome Susan Grandin as DEP’s new state lands director, 11/12/2012.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Friday named lawyer Susan Grandin of Jacksonville as its new director of the Division of State Lands in a move welcomed by environmentalists.

Grandin is president of the Preservation Law Group and a member of the state Environmental Regulation Commission. She previously was director of the Jacksonville office of The Trust for Public Land and was assistant general counsel for the city of Jacksonville.

The position is high-profile one within DEP, overseeing a conservation land-buying program that was the largest in the nation through 2008 when $300 million per year was being spent.

The program has received $23.3 million in the four budget years since 2009. In its 2013-14 state budget request, DEP proposes identifying and selling up to $50 million worth of surplus state land to buy new conservation lands — a move that drew criticism from some environmentalists.

DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard said more than a year ago that the department was slowing down its land-buying process to come up with new land-buying standards.  Click here to read the full story.