Energy & Environment

Republicans ask Biden to withdraw public lands nominee


Republicans asked President Biden to withdraw his pick to lead the Bureau of Land Management, and ramped up their criticism of her in relation to a decades-old tree-spiking incident. 

In a letter released Wednesday, every GOP senator on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee wrote to Biden asking him to withdraw his nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning. 

“We do not make this request lightly,” they wrote. “Ms. Stone-Manning has made false and misleading statements … regarding her activities associated with an eco-terrorist cell whose tree-spiking in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest in 1989 put lives at risk.”

The letter is an escalation of their prior criticism of Stone-Manning after she sent a letter in 1989 that threatened tree-spiking. 

On Thursday, committee Republicans released a letter they said was from an investigator on the case, which alleged that a grand jury sent Stone-Manning a “target letter” indicating that she was going to be indicted but that she hired an attorney who negotiated an immunity deal. 

Stone-Manning has testified that she retyped and sent the tree-spiking letter after an activist told her to do so, but she has denied any additional involvement. 

She said in court in the 1990s that she ultimately decided to send the message “because I wanted people to know that those trees were spiked. I didn’t want anybody getting hurt as a result of trees being spiked.”

She also testified at the time that she was unaware that the tree-spiking had occurred before she was handed the letter that she retyped. 

“This letter is being sent to notify you that the Post Office Sale has been spiked heavily. The reasoning for this action is that this piece of land is very special to the earth,” the message in question said. 

“You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,” it added.  

The Biden administration has stood behind Stone-Manning despite the scrutiny. 

“Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has years of experience and a proven track record of finding solutions and common ground when it comes to our public lands and waters. She is exceptionally qualified to … be the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management,” a White House official said via email. 

Meanwhile, in written responses to the committee’s questions released late Wednesday, Stone-Manning reiterated that she had “no involvement in the spiking of trees.”

She also said that she had agreed to work with authorities on the issue and that her attorney had advised her to seek immunity. 

Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said in an email that the department “stands by” Stone-Manning’s statements and written submissions. 

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