On her committee questionnaire, Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to serve as director of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), said she was never the target of any investigation. She also claimed she didn’t have knowledge of, participate in, or in any way directly or indirectly support activities associated with the spiking of trees. The accounts of the lead investigator, one of the convicted eco-terrorists, and several contemporaneous press articles contradict her sworn statements to the committee. 

A bipartisan group of leaders and stakeholders have criticized President Biden’s nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to serve as director of BLM and called for her nomination to be withdrawn.

What They Are Saying about Tracy Stone-Manning:

On Being Investigated:

Tracy Stone-Manning:

“It was degrading. It changed my awareness of the power of the government. Yes, this was happening to me and not someone in Panama.” – Tracy Stone-Manning, Spokesman-Review Spokane Chronicle (via New York Times): “Tree Spiking Probe of Professor Still Open After a Year,” August 5, 1990

“Stone-Manning said she could have been charged with conspiracy because she mailed the letter for Blount, were it not for her agreement with the U.S. Attorney.” – The Missoulian: “Woman Trades Her Testimony for her immunity in Spiking Case,” May 21, 1993

Lead Investigator for the U.S. Forest Service: 

“As a result of Ms. Lilburn’s testimony, the grand jury sent Ms. Stone-Manning a ‘target letter’ which meant she was going to be indicted on criminal charges for her active participation in planning these crimes.” – Michael Merkley, retired special agent criminal investigator for the Forest Service, July 14, 2021 

“These subpoenas were served on persons suspected of having knowledge of the incident, including Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning. Throughout this initial investigation in 1989, Ms. Stone-Manning was extremely difficult to work with; in fact she was the nastiest of suspects… It was not until after we informed her that she would be arrested if she did not comply with the subpoena that she reluctantly provided those samples to me.” – Michael Merkley, retired special agent criminal investigator for the Forest Service, July 14, 2021

Contemporaneous Press:

“In the fall of 1989, prosecutor subpoenaed seven Missoula residents, including Stone-Manning, to appear before a grand jury to provide physical evidence including handwriting and hair samples.” – The Missoulian: “Woman Trades Her Testimony for her immunity in Spiking Case,” May 21, 1993 

“The other five people served with subpoenas were identified as Bill Haskins, John Lilburn, Tracy Stone, Jennifer Johnson, and Timothy Bechtold.” – Montana Kaimin: “UM Professor Subpoenaed in Tree Spiking Incident,” October 5, 1989

On Knowing about the Tree Spiking Plan in Advance:

Lead Investigator for the U.S. Forest Service: 

“Through Ms. Lilburn’s account, it became clear that Ms. Stone-Manning was an active member of the original group that planned the spiking of the Post Office Timber Sale Trees.” – Michael Merkley, retired special agent criminal investigator for the Forest Service, July 14, 2021

Convicted Tree Spiker: 

“She knew about it far in advance, a couple of months before we headed out.” – John Blount, E&E News: “Convicted tree spiker: Stone-Manning knew plans in advance,” July 15, 2021 

“She had agreed to mail the letter well in advance [of the actual tree spiking].” – John Blount, E&E News: “Convicted tree spiker: Stone-Manning knew plans in advance,” July 15, 2021

On Her Ability to Lead BLM:

President Barack Obama’s Director of BLM: 

“[Stone-Manning’s involvement with tree spiking] should disqualify her.” – Bob Abbey, States Newsroom: “Stone-Manning’s nomination doomed after tree-spiking incident?” June 21, 2021 

“BLM needs a really strong leader. To put someone in that position that has this type of resume will just bring needless controversy that is not good for the agency or for the public lands.” – Bob Abbey, States Newsroom: “Stone-Manning’s nomination doomed after tree-spiking incident?” June 21, 2021 

“Given Ms. Stone-Manning’s past, I doubt if she would have ever been seriously considered for the chief of the [U.S.] Forest Service even though that position does not require Senate confirmation. The Biden administration and the Department of Interior should have applied a similar standard when considering candidates for the BLM’s leadership position.” – Bob Abbey, Agri-Pulse: “Committee vote on tap for embattled BLM nominee,” July 21, 2021

Biden Administration Official: 

“But a Biden official described this to me as a ‘massive vetting failure by the White House’ to allow this nominee to go forward despite knowing the headache it would create, while Biden still has so many key vacancies across his administration to fill that are so critical to carrying out his agenda.” – Josh Lederman, NBC News: “Morning Joe,” July 9, 2021

President George W. Bush’s Director of BLM: 

“I personally was quite supportive of the nomination, but this is just going to be an impossible situation. If she’s confirmed, it’s just going to be impossible.” – Jim Caswell, E&E News: “All BLM directors have ‘baggage.’ Is Biden’s pick too much?” July 19, 2021 

“It’s a detriment to the employees. The folks that she’d need to deal with out here in the West, out here in the communities, the door will close. It’s just going to get really bad.” – Jim Caswell, E&E News: “All BLM directors have ‘baggage.’ Is Biden’s pick too much?” July 19, 2021

Associated Logging Contractors-Idaho: 

“Ms. Stone-Manning’s actions then, and now, cast a long shadow on her judgment and ability to direct a land management agency. We ask that her nomination be denied.” – Shawn Keough, Executive Director, Associated Logging Contractors-Idaho, June 29, 2021

Dallas Safari Club: 

“On behalf of Dallas Safari Club (DSC), which represent thousands of hunters across the United States, we write to you today to rescind DSC’s support for President Biden’s nominee, Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning, to serve as the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the U.S. Department of the Interior… Although her involvement with Earth First was many years ago, participating in an organization that perpetuated violence against fellow Americans is simply unacceptable.” – Corey Mason, Executive Director, Dallas Safari Club, July 5, 2021

Houston Safari Club: 

“We have learned of Ms. Stone-Manning’s past involvement with the extreme environmentalist group, ‘Earth First!’, and the group’s reported involvement with sabotage, creating hazardous work environments, property destruction and violent acts. For this reason, Houston Safari Club rescinds its previous support of Ms. Stone-Manning to serve as the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior.” – Joe Betar, Executive Directo, Houston Safari Club, July 8, 2021

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