Senate Confirms Tracy Stone-Manning to Head the Bureau of Land Management

Senate Confirms Tracy Stone-Manning to Head the Bureau of Land Management

After months of conservatives trying to thwart her appointment, the Senate confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning last Thursday as director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Republican leaders protested her confirmation because of her involvement with a tree-spiking incident in 1989, but Stone-Manning was approved along party lines, 50-45.

Why this Matters

Stone-Manning is the first Senate-confirmed director of the BLM in five years and since the Trump Administration relocated the agency’s headquarters to Colorado last year as part of his "energy-first" agenda.

The BLM is an essential part of the US Department of Interior, especially when it comes to fighting climate change. The Bureau manages 245 million acres of public land, 700 million acres of mineral rights, and ensures that fossil fuel extraction does not interfere with conservation of natural resources. Stone-Manning will play an integral role in President Biden's plan to gradually stop drilling for oil and gas on federal land.

"Few agencies are as important for protecting and promoting America's public lands, and in the years to come, the BLM will play an even greater role in our government's efforts to fight climate change," Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said.

Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees?

In their opposition, Republicans emphasized an incident that occurred over 30 years ago when Stone-Manning was a graduate student and wrote a letter warning the US Forest Service that two men planned to spike trees in Idaho's Clearwater National Forest, a tactic to damage logging machinery but also one that put workers in danger. Even though Stone-Manning testified against the men, helping to convict them, Republicans have dubbed her an "eco-terrorist."

Senator Schumer dismissed these claims as "cheap, out-of-context attacks."

Democrats maintained that Stone-Manning effectively balanced the needs of environmentalists, ranchers, and fossil fuel companies as senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

"She is someone who knows the value of collaboration, she is someone who can listen, who can reason, that knows our public lands, that’s recreated on our public lands her whole life," said Senator Jon Tester of Montana.