Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) is continuing to speak out against President Joe Biden’s controversial nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over her involvement in a past ecoterrorism plot.
Barrasso, who serves on the committee responsible for vetting the nominee, Tracy Stone-Manning, told Breitbart News exclusively that there is “no way” she should oversee federal forests after her role in a 1989 tree spiking case and her inaccurate portrayal of that case on her Senate committee hearing questionnaire.
“The disgusting letter that Tracy Stone-Manning typed and sent to the Forest Service was never a warning, it was always a threat,” Barrasso said of the profane letter Stone-Manning sent to the U.S. Forest Service 30 years ago on behalf of an individual who was later convicted of tree spiking and sentenced to prison.
During the same time that she sent the letter, Stone-Manning was a graduate student at the University of Montana in Missoula and belonged to the radical environmental group Earth First!, members of which partook in ecoterrorism during the 1980s and 1990s.
As Breitbart News reported on the tree spiking case:
In 1989, Stone-Manning mailed a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, an individual in her “circle of friends,” crudely warning federal authorities that trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest that were scheduled to be cut down had been sabotaged with metal spikes to prevent them from being harvested. Tree spiking, as this form of sabotage is called, is both a crime and, according to the FBI’s definition, an act of ecoterrorism that can be fatal to loggers or millworkers processing the spiked trees.
After the Forest Service received the warning letter, Stone-Manning and six other individuals in Missoula were the target of a 1989 grand jury investigation for which they were subpoenaed and required to submit finger prints and hair samples. However, the 1989 grand jury did not uncover enough evidence to charge Blount or anyone else with the crime. The case was not solved until Blount’s ex-girlfriend reported him to authorities two years later, and in doing so, also named Stone-Manning as the person who mailed the letter for him. In exchange for immunity, Stone-Manning testified in the 1993 trial against Blount, who was convicted for the tree spiking crime and sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Former BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley references interviews in which Stone-Manning admits she did not come forward about her knowledge of Blount’s 1989 tree spiking until her 1993 testimony. Stone-Manning later filled out a questionnaire for her Senate confirmation hearing with inaccuracies related to the tree spiking case.
“Tracy Stone-Manning covered up for those eco-terrorists, setting back the investigation by years, and she only cooperated with authorities when she was caught,” Barrasso observed, adding that “she then lied to the Senate Committee about the incident. There is no way that she should direct an agency that oversees almost 65 million acres of forest.”
In her Senate committee questionnaire, Stone-Manning falsely 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.
While Energy Committee Democrats have been silent on Stone-Manning’s nomination since the revelations about her involvement in the case and her handling of the questionnaire, multiple Republicans on the committee, in addition to Barrasso, have expressed their opposition to her.
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), who represents a state in which BLM oversees more than 12 million acres of public land, said in a statement provided to Breitbart News, “Anyone familiar with this eco-terrorist practice [of tree spiking] doesn’t consider Tracy Stone-Manning ‘exceptionally qualified.’”
The Washington Post reported the White House is so far standing by Stone-Manning’s nomination and that it described her as “exceptionally qualified.”
“When Idahoans hear someone who conspired with tree spikers is the administration’s pick to lead the largest land management agency in America, they are rightfully appalled. Conspiring with tree spikers is not a mistake,” Risch added.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), another member of the Energy Committee and often a swing vote within the Republican caucus, said she plans to reject Stone-Manning’s nomination, calling her “involvement in any way in a tree spiking incident disturbing” and her responses to Murkowski’s “Alaska specific issues” during her committee hearing “unsatisfactory and evasive.”
An E&E News report stated Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), also on the committee, accused her of “giving false answers to our questions” in regard to the questionnaire.
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