Tracy Stone-Manning moved one step closer to becoming Biden’s top public lands manager on Thursday as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced her nomination solely with Democratic support.
For weeks, Republicans have adamantly called on Biden to withdraw Stone-Manning’s nomination due to her decision as a University of Montana graduate student in 1989 to send a letter on behalf of eco-saboteurs who drove metal spikes into trees in Idaho set to be cut down — an act designed to make it more dangerous for loggers to saw through the trunks.
Before the vote, Manchin said he took Republicans’ concerns about Stone-Manning “very seriously.” But the senator said the nominee would go to the BLM with a “solid reputation over the past three decades as a dedicated public servant and as a problem-solver,” noting she did not participate in the tree-spiking itself.
If confirmed, Stone-Manning will play a crucial role in realizing the president’s promise to curb climate-warming emissions and set aside nearly a third of the nation’s land for conservation. She would be tasked with fulfilling one of Biden’s most demanding campaign pledges — winding down new oil and gas drilling on federal acreage.
Supporters laud Stone-Manning, currently a senior adviser at the National Wildlife Federation, as an experienced environmental policy hand able to strike compromises with activists and industry alike. But her opponents say her affiliation with the activist group Earth First in the 1980s is disqualifying.
Stone-Manning’s nomination moved forward after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D), the West Virginia moderate who chairs the energy panel, threw his weight behind the pick.
Update 7pm: This appointment looks to be very promising for our wild horses and burros. We see that Return to Freedom endorse Stone-Manning. We will update you on any others. Thank you. —TH
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