US Senator John Barrasso, the rating Republican on the Senate vitality committee, mentioned on Friday that US Bureau of land management nominee Tracy Stone-Manning must be disqualified for her collaboration with “excessive environmental activists.”
As a 23-year-old graduate pupil on the University of Montana, Stone-Manning despatched a letter to federal officers in 1989 saying spikes had been inserted into bushes in Idaho’s Clearwater Nationwide Forest. The letter warned “lots of people might get damage” if logging proceeded, in response to court docket paperwork obtained by The Associated Press from federal archives.
Spiking bushes entails inserting steel or ceramic rods into trunks to allow them to’t be safely lower down, and the tactic has typically been used to halt timber gross sales.
Stone-Manning testified towards two associates and former housemates who had been convicted within the case, saying she mailed the letter on the request of one in every of them and to forestall individuals from getting damage. She was given immunity to testify and was by no means charged with or convicted of any crimes.
The case obtained in depth media protection on the time, and Stone-Manning years later needed to clarify her involvement to Montana lawmakers previous to her affirmation to guide the state’s setting company underneath former governor Steve Bullock.
Its resurfacing comes as some Republicans have sought to undermine Stone-Manning’s nomination, characterizing her as a partisan Democrat and environmental radical.
Barrasso, of Wyoming, mentioned after seeing the paperwork within the case that Stone-Manning’s participation ought to disqualify her from heading the Bureau of Land Administration, which regulates grazing, vitality drilling, logging and different actions throughout 245 million acres (100 million hectares) primarily within the West.
“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists,” Barrasso mentioned in a press release. “She labored with excessive environmental activists who spiked bushes, threatening the lives and livelihoods of loggers. Whereas she was given immunity from prosecution to testify towards her companions in court docket, her actions had been disgraceful.”
Stone-Manning didn’t reply to phone and textual content messages seeing remark.
An administration official who requested to not be recognized mentioned officers knew concerning the prison case and Stone-Manning’s testimony previous to her nomination.
“She has at all times been sincere and clear about this matter, which has been lined by the media for many years, and finally testified towards the accountable particular person, who was convicted,” mentioned the particular person, who requested to not be recognized as a result of they weren’t approved to debate a pending nomination.
Throughout a Tuesday listening to earlier than the Senate Power and Pure Assets Committee, GOP lawmakers together with Barrasso grilled Stone-Manning over her file as a senior official on the National Wildlife Federation, the place she was a frequent critic of the Trump administration’s pro-industry agenda.
The animosity towards her nomination displays anger amongst some Republicans over Stone-Manning’s function within the 2020 election. She served as treasurer and board member of the environmental group Montana Conservation Voters, which ran advertisements towards Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines when Bullock unsuccessfully challenged him in November.
On the time of the tree spiking, Stone-Manning was a just lately arrived environmental research graduate pupil in Missoula. She additionally labored throughout that point as an off-the-cuff spokesperson for the loose-knit environmental group EarthFirst!, whose members gained notoriety within the Nineteen Eighties for espousing “direct motion” akin to blocking timber gross sales to guard the setting.
As a part of her involvement, she helped edit a e-newsletter known as the Wild Rockies Assessment and took part in satirical skits aimed toward drawing consideration to timber gross sales, in response to a transcript of her 1989 testimony.
In 2013, when she was questioned by Montana lawmakers about her involvement with EarthFirst!, Stone-Manning responded that she had left as a result of the group’s members had been “offended.”
“Anger does not do a lot. It does not resolve issues. What I do is resolve issues,” she mentioned, in response to an article within the Missoulian.
Starting in 1999 Stone-Manning directed a nonprofit group that pushed cleanup of one of many nation’s largest contaminated Superfund websites, Montana’s Clark Fork River. She later labored as an aide to Senator Jon Tester and chief of workers for Bullock.
Tester launched Stone-Manning through the Senate listening to and defended her after Barrasso criticized her environmental file.
“I might not be right here right now introducing her if I assumed she was the particular person you described,” Tester mentioned. “This a very good particular person, that has a very good coronary heart, that understands the worth of our public lands.”
The vote on her nomination has not been scheduled. It could take each Senate Republican plus not less than one Democratic lawmaker to dam her nomination.