Senate Energy Republicans, including Lisa Murkowski, urge Biden to withdraw BLM nominee


The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Republicans on Wednesday asked President Biden to withdraw the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning, accusing her of making false statements to the committee about her involvement in an “eco-terrorist cell.”

All 10 Republicans signed the letter to Mr. Biden, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, raising serious doubts about the political viability of the nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management.

“Ms. Stone-Manning made false and misleading statements in a sworn statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding her activities associated with an eco-terrorist cell whose tree-spiking in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest in 1989 put lives at risk,” said the letter.

With no Republican support, the best Ms. Stone-Manning can hope for is a tie vote in the committee, meaning that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer would need to call a vote of the full Senate to discharge her nomination.

What’s more, the committee is headed by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the Senate’s most centrist Democrat. He has not commented publicly on the nominee, and no committee vote is scheduled on her nomination.

Ms. Stone-Manning told the committee in her questionnaire she had never been under federal investigation even though she received immunity from prosecution to testify in 1993 in the tree-spiking case.

The Republicans said that her “false and misleading statements, as well as her extremist activities, disqualify her from serving as Director of this important agency.”

As a graduate student at the University of Montana, Ms. Stone-Manning was involved in the radical environmental group Earth First!

She admitted in grand jury testimony that she retyped, edited and mailed an anonymous letter in 1989 to the Forest Service warning of spiked trees at the request of one of the perpetrators, but did not report him to authorities.

Ms. Stone-Manning, a former regional director for Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, has said that she sought to protect loggers and forestry workers.

The White House defended her nomination even after Bob Abbey, director of the Bureau of Land Management under President Barack Obama, withdrew his support last month over the tree-spiking episode.

The administration said last month that Ms. Stone-Manning has “always been honest and transparent about this matter, which has been covered by the media for decades, and ultimately testified against the responsible individual, who was convicted.”

The other Republicans signing the letter were ranking member Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming; Jim Risch of Idaho; Mike Lee of Utah; Steve Daines of Montana; John Hoeven of North Dakota;  James Lankford of Oklahoma; Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, and Roger Marshall of Kansas.

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