Senate confirms Biden’s choice to head Bureau of Land Management
But Republican leaders also said their opposition was based on their behavior during the 1989 tree-cutting incident, not their opposition to expanding oil and gas drilling.
As a graduate student in Montana, Ms. Stone-Manning, now 56, sent and mailed a letter to the US Forest Service warning about plans to insert metal spikes into trees in Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. At the time, “tree spiking” was a tactic used by some environmentalists to damage logging machinery. But it can harm or even kill workers using that equipment.
Ms Stone-Manning testified in the Clearwater case that helped convict the two men involved, and she described her decision to write the letter as an attempt to warn authorities.
Republicans accused Ms Stone-Manning of lying about her connection to the incident and labeled her an “eco-terrorist”.
“It’s hard to imagine a more inept candidate than Tracy Stone-Manning,” said Senator John Barrasso, Wyoming’s Republican and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “Every Senate Democrat will be responsible for his confirmation.”
Democrats unanimously stood behind Ms Stone-Manning on Thursday. He noted that the tree-cutting incident happened when she was 20 and argued that she was assisting the authorities. He described him as someone who spent his later decades building a bridge between environmentalists, ranchers, and fossil fuel interests.
“He is someone who knows the value of cooperation, someone who can listen, who can reason, who knows our public land, who has been rebuilt all his life on our public land, said Senator John Tester, a Democrat from Montana, who employed Ms. Stone-Manning as an aide and has known her for two decades.
Most recently, Ms. Stone-Manning was senior advisor on conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, a non-profit conservation group. He has also served as an aide to former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and as the head of Montana’s Environment Agency.
Emily Cochran Contributed to reporting.
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