U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a business meeting to consider the nomination of Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning to be director of the Bureau of Land Management.
To watch the full business meeting, click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I have a lot to say about the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning, so I will speak now and will speak again after others have had the opportunity.
“I want to focus my remarks now on her statements to our committee and how they don’t align with the facts.
“On her committee questionnaire – a sworn affidavit – the committee clearly asks: ‘have you ever been investigated’?
“Tracy Stone-Manning said she hadn’t been.
“On the same document, she also stated that she testified for a grand jury about an ‘alleged’ tree spiking.
“These statement are not true and Ms. Stone-Manning knows it.
“The sale trees in the Clearwater National Forest were spiked in 1989.
“Individuals were found guilty of this crime and a local sawmill was damaged.
“Some of these trees remain standing today, are still spiked, and seriously dangerous to loggers and to firefighters.
“There was nothing ‘alleged’ about it.
“Worse still, she could have turned in the spikers at the start.
“If she had, the Forest Service would have been better able to identify the spiked trees.
“Instead she covered up for the criminals for years.
“Not only did the eco-terrorists remain at large because Ms. Stone-Manning withheld information from law enforcement authorities – her refusal to assist the investigation perpetuated the danger the spiked trees posed to loggers, firefighters, and sawmill workers.
“Ms. Stone-Manning was investigated.
“Following the tree spiking in 1989, she was subpoenaed by investigators to provide hair samples, fingerprints, writing samples, and other physical evidence.
“Press articles from the time confirm this fact, as do the court documents obtained by the committee.
“This is further verified by the letter our committee received from the lead investigator for the U.S. Forest Service, Mr. Michael Merkley.
“He writes, ‘…the grand jury issued subpoenas for hair samples, hand writing exemplars, and finger prints. These subpoenas were served on persons suspected of having knowledge of the incident, including Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning.’
“But don’t take his word for it alone.
“We should listen to the words of Tracy Stone-Manning herself.
“In a 1990 article about law enforcement’s investigation at the University of Montana, she complained about how the investigation made her feel.
“She said, ‘It was degrading.’
“Through this entire period, she did not tell the truth to the investigators.
“Remember, she knew who spiked the trees.
“She sent the threatening letter for them.
“She never went to the police and she never identified the eco-terrorists.
“She also didn’t cooperate.
“Mr. Merkley says in his letter to the chairman and me after she testified at this committee, ‘Through this initial investigation in 1989, Ms. Stone-Manning was extremely difficult to work with; in fact she was the nastiest of the suspects. She was vulgar, antagonistic, and extremely anti-government.’
“He goes on to say she refused to comply with the investigation until she learned that she would be arrested if she did not.
“But the investigation of Tracy Stone-Manning did not end in 1989 with the subpoenas.
“At the end of 1992, after years of her covering up for the eco-terrorists, she was identified as the one who sent the letter.
“Ms. Lilburn came forward to authorities and gave her name to investigators.
“Mr. Merkley writes, ‘as a result of Ms. Lilburn’s testimony, the grand jury sent Tracy Stone-Manning a target letter, which meant she was going to be indicted on criminal charges for her active participation in planning these crimes.’
“Her lawyer negotiated an immunity deal where she would testify against the individuals who spiked the trees.
“In an interview with Ms. Stone-Manning published in a 1993 article in The Missoulian – ‘Stone-Manning said she could have been charged with conspiracy’ if not for her immunity deal.
“She told our committee she had never been investigated.
“She was subpoenaed to provide physical evidence, was investigated, didn’t cooperate with investigators, complained to the press about being investigated, and covered up for the eco-terrorists for years.
“But that wasn’t the only lie.
“In the committee’s questions for the record, she was asked,‘…in any way directly or indirectly support activities associated with the spiking of trees…’
“She responded: ‘no.’
“The lead investigator’s letter makes clear she knew of the plan to spike the trees in the Idaho forest in advance.
“He wasn’t the only one to say she knew in advance.
“Mr. John Blount, one of the convicted tree spikers, told E&E News, ‘She knew about it far in advance, a couple of months before we headed out.’
“He continues, ‘She had agreed to mail the letter well in advance.’
“Ms. Stone-Manning helped plan the tree spiking.
“She knew about it in advance.
“She sent the threatening letter to the Forest Service.
“She was investigated.
“Let me be very clear.
“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists and lied to our committee.
“Lying to the United States Senate has consequences.
“In this case, her actions and her lies should cost her this nomination.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”