Tracy Stone-Manning, a long-time environmentalist, will serve as the first Senate-confirmed director of the Bureau of Land Management in more than four years, winning a party-line roll call on her nomination, 50-45. Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, said Republicans resorted to character assassination in their attempts to defeat the nomination.
The Bureau of Land Management oversees 245 million acres, one of every 10 acres in the nation — mainly in the West — and approximately 30 percent of the nation’s minerals. Among its duties is supervision of livestock grazing on 155 million acres.
“The BLM is an important partner to ranchers across the West, and it is our expectation that Director Stone-Manning uphold the law, support multiple use management, and recognize the important role ranchers play in managing and conserving these large landscapes,” said the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Stone-Manning, 55, was senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation before her nomination. She also has worked as an aide to Tester, as director of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality and as chief of staff to then-Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Early in her career, she led a regional conservation group, the Clark Fork Coalition.
Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Jim Risch of Idaho took the lead for months in declaring Stone-Manning was forever tainted by involvement in a logging sabotage episode in 1989, when she was 23. She re-typed and mailed to the Forest Service a letter warning that metal spikes had been driven into trees to prevent logging in a part of the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. Shortly before the floor vote, Risch said she was “an ecoterrorist.” Stone-Manning was not charged in the incident. “In fact, the people who went to jail went to jail because of Tracy Stone-Manning,” said Tester. She testified under a limited grant of immunity in a trial that led to the conviction of two friends for the spiking.
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