Several congressional Republicans are expressing their public opposition to President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over her past ties to ecoterrorist activity.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who is ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the committee that will vote on Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination ahead of a full Senate vote, said he plans to object to the nomination.
“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who had booby trapped trees with metal spikes. … She did not cooperate with investigators until she was caught,” Barrasso said in a statement. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), another Energy Committee member, said she is “unfit” to lead the BLM and called on Biden to withdraw the nomination.
In 1993, Stone-Manning testified against two individuals in her “circle of friends,” one being John P. Blount who was sentenced to 17 months in prison for tree spiking. Former BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley detailed in an op-ed with Breitbart News how Stone-Manning’s testimony came in exchange for federal immunity after she in 1989 mailed a profane letter Blount had given her to the U.S. Forest Service warning of trees that had been spiked.
Stone-Manning, who around the same timeframe was a member of the radical environmentalist group Earth First! — which engaged in ecoterrorism — had initially been subpoenaed in 1989 over the tree spiking case. Pendley wrote:
Stone-Manning, if not a co-conspirator to the tree spiking, was an accessory after-the-fact to that felony, which she failed to disclose at the time it occurred in the spring of 1989. Secondly, she failed to disclose to the grand jury in 1989 that it was Blount who spiked the trees and she who mailed the letter.
Tree spiking is the act of installing metal spikes into trees, creating a dangerous or even deadly scenario for loggers should their saw come into contact with the spikes. Tree spiking, historically pursued by environmental extremists, is a federal crime.
Pendley noted Stone-Manning also admitted to the Missoulian in 1993 that she could have been charged with conspiracy, just as others had been, if it were not for her immunity agreement.
In a questionnaire for her Senate committee hearing, Stone-Manning claimed she was never the subject of a criminal investigation and that the tree spiking case to which she is linked was merely “alleged” tree spiking — despite the facts that she was a target in the 1989 grand jury investigation for the tree spiking crime, admitted in a 1993 interview that she would have been charged with conspiracy in the tree spiking crime if it were not for her immunity agreement, and the crime did occur and the individuals she testified against were convicted for it.
“Tracy Stone-Manning lied to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by claiming the tree spiking was ‘alleged’ and that she was never investigated,” Barrasso asserted. “Now, we have confirmation that neither of those things are true. President Biden must withdraw her nomination.”
The BLM oversees mostly western land, a massive portion of which is in Alaska. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) voiced his opposition to Stone-Manning in a lengthy statement last week as he emphasized the magnitude of the bureau’s influence over his state. Sullivan called her nomination “shocking,” and the state’s senior senator, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — who is often a key swing vote for Republicans — said she too intends to vote against Stone-Manning.
Murkowski, being a member of the Energy Committee, said in a statement that she found responses to “Alaska specific issues” she asked during Stone-Manning’s committee hearing to be “unsatisfactory and evasive.”
A major Idaho logging group representing more than 500 businesses also released a letter this week, obtained by the Federalist, calling for the Senate to reject Stone-Manning.
Several senators from states that are logging industry hotbeds, such as Georgia, Washington, Oregon, and Maine, have not publicly indicated their positions, nor have moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Should all 50 Senate Republicans vote against Stone-Manning, just one Democrat breaking with the party would sink her nomination in the upper chamber, which is split 50–50.
On Monday, 15 House Republicans wrote a letter to Manchin, who along with often toeing party lines also happens to be the Energy Committee chair, urging him to oppose Stone-Manning over the tree spiking plot and her “overtly partisan past.”
Bob Abbey, former President Barack Obama’s first BLM director, told E&E News he also believes Stone-Manning’s ecoterrorist ties “should disqualify her.”
“BLM needs a really strong leader,” Abbey said. “To put someone in that position that has this type of resume will just bring needless controversy that is not good for the agency or for the public lands.”
The Biden administration, for its part, has stood by the nomination despite the numerous calls for her to withdraw. An administration source told Fox News, “She has always been honest and transparent about this matter, which has been covered by the media for decades, and ultimately testified against the responsible individual, who was convicted.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.