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 nominations of:
- Mr. Robert T. Anderson to be solicitor of the Department of the Interior (revote);
- Ms. Shalanda H. Baker to be director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy;
- Mr. Samuel T. Walsh to be general counsel at the Department of Energy;
- Mr. Andrew E. Light to be assistant secretary of the Department of Energy for International Affairs; and
- 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:
“Today, our committee is going to consider four new nominations and we will hold a revote on the nomination of Robert Anderson to serve as the solicitor of the Department of the Interior.
“I still oppose Mr. Anderson’s nomination.
“The four new nominations are Andrew Light to serve as the assistant secretary of the Department of the Energy; Shalanda Baker to serve as the director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; Samuel Walsh to serve as the general counsel at the Department of Energy; and Tracy Stone-Manning to serve as the director of the Bureau of Land Management.
“While I don’t agree with all of the views Mr. Anderson, Ms. Baker, and Mr. Walsh hold, they have been forthright with our committee and I believe they are qualified to serve in the positions for which they have been nominated.
“This is not the case for all of the nominations we will consider today.
“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists, she lied to this committee, and she continues to harbor extremist views most Americans find reprehensible.
“She is thoroughly disqualified from holding the important position of director of the Bureau of Land Management.
“In 1989, while a grad student in Montana, Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who had hammered hundreds of metal spikes into trees in a national forest in Idaho.
“Tree spiking involves hammering a metal rod – such as this one – into a tree trunk, either at its base where a logger or firefighter might cut into it or higher up where it would mangle a mill’s saw blade.
“Shards of broken blades fly through the air resulting in horrific injuries.
“Even the Washington Post has labeled tree spiking as eco-terrorism.
“According to her own court testimony, Tracy Stone-Manning edited, typed and then anonymously sent a profanity-laced threatening letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of the eco-terrorists.
“The letter she typed and sent was not a warning, as she has since claimed, but a threat.
“It includes lines like: ‘You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,’ and she also typed, ‘I would be more than willing to pay you a dollar for the sale, but you would have to find me first and that could be your WORST nightmare.’
“Tracy Stone-Manning has said since the incident that she mailed this disturbing threating letter to warn people of the danger of the spiked trees.
“But she didn’t go to the authorities.
“She didn’t go to the police.
“She took extraordinary steps to ensure that she and the tree spikers would not get caught.
“She mailed the threatening letter to the target of the tree spiking, the U.S. Forest Service.
“In the following months, she, along with others in her circle, would be investigated for their involvement with the eco-terrorist attack.
“Local press stories from the time tell us that she was subpoenaed and gave hair, palm, handwriting, and fingerprint samples to investigators.
“Tracy Stone-Manning is even quoted in the press complaining about how degrading it was to be investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Forest Service.
“She told the press: ‘It was degrading. It changed my awareness of the power of the government.’
“Throughout this entire time, Tracy Stone-Manning knew who the tree spikers were and she could have gone to the authorities to identify them.
“She did not.
“She also did not cooperate with investigators.
“The lead investigator on the case wrote a letter to Chairman Manchin and me in which he made clear that she did not cooperate.
“In fact, he referred to her as the ‘nastiest of the suspects.’
“He also said she not only had knowledge of the plan to spike these trees, she was one of the planners of the eco-terrorism.
“The investigator wrote to us: ‘…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.’
“Now this is a letter we got since her initial hearing in this committee.
“He only came forward after he heard her testimony.
“In an interview with E&E News, one of the convicted tree spikers confirmed that Tracy Stone-Manning knew of the plan to spike the trees ‘well in advance.’
“According to the investigator’s letter, Ms. Stone-Manning’s lack of cooperation set the investigation back years.
“Eventually, Ms. Stone-Manning was identified and received an investigation threat letter.
“The lead investigator said only after she was caught, and her lawyer negotiated an immunity deal, did she agree to testify.
“Tracy Stone-Manning’s defenders have tried to spin her testimony as helping to put away the bad guys.
“The reality is she helped plan the tree spiking, covered up the terrorist activity for years, she did not cooperate with the authorities, she did not cooperate with investigators, and only testified after she was caught and received immunity.
“After all of this, she lied to our committee about the incident.
“On a sworn affidavit in her committee questionnaire – a questionnaire that all nominees must fill out – she said it was it was an ‘alleged’ tree spiking and that she was not the subject of any investigation.
“In written questions for the record, I specifically asked her: ‘Did you have personal knowledge of, participate in, or in any way directly or indirectly support activities associated with the spiking of trees in any forest during your lifetime?’
“Her response was: ‘No.’
“Both the cop and the criminal agree that Tracy Stone-Manning is lying.
“Both the cop and the criminal said that she had knowledge of the plan before the trees were spiked.
“Over the past 30 years, she has tried to change this fact.
“In 2013, Tracy Stone-Manning told a Montana State Senate Committee that she was approached to send the threatening letter by a ‘frightening’ individual.
“She said: ‘A rather disturbed person that was not a student, handed me a letter one day on campus and said, ‘would you mail this letter?’’
“But in her own court testimony, she said the individuals who spiked the trees were her friends.
“She knew the plan.
“Mr. Chairman, she straight up lied to the committee to every one of us.
“She was investigated.
“She did know the tree spiking plan.
“These weren’t statements she made in 1989.
“These were sworn statements she made to this committee in 2021.
“It is our committee’s Constitutional responsibility to vet senior administration officials.
“It something that has meaning, we cannot tolerate this.
“Bob Abbey, who was the director of the Bureau of Land Management under former President Barack Obama, said her actions ‘should disqualify her’ from leading this important agency.
“A Biden administration official told NBC News that this nomination was ‘a massive vetting failure.’
“Our committee shouldn’t allow or repeat that failure.
“It’s hard to imagine a nominee more disqualified than Tracy Stone-Manning.
“I strongly oppose her nomination and urge everyone on this committee to do the same.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”