U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland at a hearing to examine the president’s budget request for the Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2022.

Barrasso asked Haaland about the dangers of tree spiking and President Biden’s nominee to be director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Tracy Stone-Manning, and her involvement with eco-terrorists.

On the Dangers of Tree Spiking:

Barrasso: “I have some short questions for you. If you could please respond briefly. The first has to do with tree spiking, where people drive metal spikes into trees. Can tree spiking kill or maim loggers and mill workers?”

Haaland: “Senator, I imagine so. I was not familiar with that practice until recently.”

Barrasso: “Is tree spiking in national forests a federal crime?”

Haaland: “Senator, I couldn’t tell you for sure, but I imagine it’s very dangerous.”

Barrasso: “Should individuals who are aware of spiked trees, in terms of national forests, immediately inform law enforcement?”

Haaland: “I imagine that anyone should inform law enforcement if it’s a danger.”

Barrasso: “So I guess the question is, should individuals who plan or otherwise are involved in tree spiking incidents and threaten physical safety of federal officials expect to be hired by the Department of the Interior?

Haaland: “Senator, I believe you’re referring to the nominee, Tracy Stone-Manning. I also recognize that she was nominated by President Biden because he felt she could do the job and that she was qualified.”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Haaland on the dangers of tree spiking.

On Tracy Stone-Manning’s extremist views:

Barrasso: “On the issue of wildfires in the West, which is a major issue as wildfires are burning around the West, there’s an interface now with areas where people build homes and forests can burn. There are problems sometimes with structures who are at risk who are at this interface. Do you agree with this statement, ‘Perhaps the solution to houses in the interface is to let them burn.’?”

Haaland: “Well, I can’t necessarily agree or disagree, but I think the wildfires are getting more intense because of climate change that’s why we need preventative measures and put resources toward protecting communities.”

Barrasso: “Do you agree with this statement, ‘There’s a rude and satisfying justice in burning down the house of someone who builds in the forest.’?”

Haaland: “I don’t. No.”

Barrasso: “Do you agree that children are an ‘environmental hazard.’?”

Haaland: “No.”

Barrasso: “Do you agree that grazing on federal lands is ‘destroying the West.’? These are obviously statements that someone else has made. We disagree with, and I want to see if  you have the same mindset.”

Haaland: “I haven’t heard all of these statements, Senator. I mean, I agree there are a lot of things destroying the West like drought and wildfire and climate change. Climate change is certainly ruining a lot of our country right now.”

Barrasso: “You wouldn’t necessarily want to hire an employee in a land management position who agrees or puts forth these statements about ‘satisfying justice’ about letting houses burn or ‘children as environmental hazards’?”

Haaland: “Senator, what I will say is that I, as secretary of the Interior, am not personally hiring anyone. I believe that is a team effort and I know that the Senate plays a very large role in any of these positions as well.”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Haaland on Tracy Stone-Manning’s extremist views.

Background Information: 

On her committee questionnaire, a sworn affidavit, Stone-Manning said she was never the target of a criminal investigation and that the case was an “alleged” tree spiking. In court testimony obtained by the committee, Stone-Manning admitted she edited, retyped, and sent a threatening letter to the US Forest Service on behalf of the eco-terrorists. Years later, she received immunity in order to testify against the individuals who had spiked the trees. The court documents also confirm that hundreds of trees were spiked. Some of these trees remain a danger to loggers, Forest Service employees, and fire fighters. 

In a letter to the committee, the retired special agent criminal investigator for the Forest Service provided the facts of the entire case. He made clear that Stone-Manning was a target of the investigation, did not cooperate with investigators until she received immunity, and helped plan the 1989 tree spiking. Read the investigator’s full letter to the committee here

The BLM manages almost 65 million acres of forests.

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