Senate Republicans trot out 32 year old news to cut down Land Mgt. nominee

It’s worth remembering that Republican legislators and regulators during the Trump regime tried to destroy and weaken every environmental law and regulation.

Now that the current Administration is trying to act as a good steward for America’s natural resources the Republicans are engaging in every slash and burn tactic at their disposable to disrupt.

Excerpted from Montana Free Press 7.18.2021

Republican members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources issued a letter to President Joe Biden Wednesday urging him to rescind his nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management.

The letter’s signatories, including Montana Sen. Steve Daines, say Stone-Manning made “false and misleading” statements to the committee about her involvement in a tree-spiking incident that led to an investigation and two convictions.

The tree-spiking incident has surfaced at various points in Stone-Manning’s career, including when she was chosen by former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to lead the state Department of Environmental Quality. The Montana Legislature questioned her about the incident and ultimately approved her appointment.

Last month Bullock told the Associated Press that Republicans on the Senate Energy Committee were grasping at old news to try to sink her nomination.

“She helped send a guy to prison 30 years ago when she was a college kid,” he said. “It’s never been a secret at all.”

Steve Bullock, Tracy Stone-Manning
Tracy Stone-Manning (left) was named in 2012 by Gov.-elect Steve Bullock to run the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, in Helena, Mont. Stone-Manning has been nominated by President Joe Biden to lead an agency that oversees about a quarter-billion acres of public lands in western states.

Jon Tester, Daines’ Democratic counterpart in the Senate, was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Stone-Manning’s nomination. He described her as “somebody who exhibits uncommon common sense, somebody who has two ears and one mouth and acts accordingly [and] someone who is a critical thinker, thinks reasonably and promotes reasonable decisions” when introducing her before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources June 8. His support of her nomination appears to be unchanged by his Republican colleagues’ letter.

Prior to her post with the DEQ, Stone-Manning worked for Tester, first as a regional director and later as a state staff director and senior advisor.

A July 15 statement from Tester’s office says, “Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has devoted her life to advocating for the public lands that drive our economy and serve as the backbone of Montana’s outdoor heritage. Tracy will bring Montana common sense to the Bureau of Land Management and serve as a collaborative, nonpartisan steward for our public land as well as the thousands of good-paying jobs that rely on them. I look forward to her confirmation.”


Tracy Stone-Manning III 7.18.2021.jpeg

A number of conservation organizations voiced their continued support of Stone-Manning and expressed frustration with Daines for attempting to nix her nomination.

Montana Conservation Voters Executive Director Whitney Tawney described Stone-Manning as an outdoorswoman, conservation professional and demonstrated leader. She said Daines’ “partisan attacks are an affront to all those who enjoy our public lands and want to see them managed with balance and transparency.”

Missoula’s Jock Conyngham, who’s worked with Stone-Manning in a number of capacities, including as a fellow Montana Conservation Voters board member, said Barasso and Daines are distorting her involvement in the tree-spiking incident and are only presenting “part of the picture.”

He said he’s always been impressed by Stone-Manning’s perspective and careful consideration of tough issues.

In 1989, while attending the University of Montana, Stone-Manning sent a letter to federal officials saying that trees in the Clearwater National Forest had been spiked, and that “a lot of people could get hurt” if logging in the forest proceeded. Tree spiking involves hammering a metal spike into a tree to discourage logging. Contact between a chainsaw or sawmill blade and a spike can seriously injure the operator.

Four years after Stone-Manning wrote the letter, she testified before a federal grand jury in Boise, Idaho, against two friends who were convicted in the tree-spiking case. She said she’d mailed the letter at the request of one of those friends, and to prevent people from getting hurt. She received immunity in exchange for the testimony and was never charged with a crime.