As if things couldn’t get any worse for embattled Bureau of Land Management nominee Tracy-Stone Manning, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel officially came out against her nomination in an editorial this week.
The Daily Sentinel’s opinion on the matter may have unusual weight as they bare the unique designation of being the BLM’s hometown paper.
Stone-Manning’s nomination is currently hanging on by a thread but may still clear the Senate despite unanimous Republican opposition.
In recent days, questions have swirled about her past connection to an eco-terror tree spiking plot and ethics problems.
The Daily Sentinel railed against the Biden administration for choosing a tainted nominee that would enter the job “snakebit.”
“She will enter office snakebit, and that won’t help the BLM or the communities impacted by its policies. Confirmations boil down to the party in charge of the Senate. Right now that’s Democrats. So, this may well be a tempest in teapot. But we think a less controversial nominee is in the agency’s best interest. There are plenty of capable people — with far less baggage — available to run the BLM. To stick with Stone-Manning is to court controversy needlessly. That’s the opposite of what the BLM needs now.”
Despite the disturbing revelations about Stone-Manning, Colorado’s U.S. senators appear ready to advance her nomination.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet dismissed concerns about Stone-Manning’s past connection to eco-terrorism as a “hit job” in comments to the Colorado Sun earlier this week.
“So far my sense of it is that it’s a hit job, that people are trying to derail her nomination,” Bennet said.
If it’s just a “hit job” as Bennet maintains, not all Democrats agree. An unnamed White House official told NBC News recently Stone-Manning’s nomination was a “massive vetting failure.”
Former Obama BLM head Bob Abbey and several conservation groups have also pulled their endorsement for Stone-Manning upon learning more about her connection to the 1989 tree spiking plot.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee blasted Bennet in a release that questioned how Coloradans who interact with the BLM could trust Stone-Manning if she led the agency.
“By supporting an alleged eco-terrorist like Tracy Stone-Manning, Bennet is proving his utter disregard for not only the timber industry but everyone in Colorado who relies on sound judgment from BLM,” said NRSC spokesperson T.W. Arrighi.
U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper has already shown himself to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, so we don’t anticipate him causing any problems for the White House on this nomination.
Despite the apparent lack of any concern from either Democrat, one as to wonder if they are walking onto a political landmine.
Stone-Manning may have lied to Congress about whether she was a target of the subsequent federal investigation.
But in a letter released today by Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee’s top Republican, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a retired Forest Service investigator alleged that Stone-Manning “was an active member of the original group that planned the spiking.”
Retired Special Agent Michael Merkley wrote in the letter that another witness in the sabotage incident “recounted a conversation she had overheard wherein Ms. Stone-Manning along with other co-conspirators planned the tree-spiking and discussed whether to use ceramic or metal spikes in the trees.”
Merkley, who first spoke to E&E News last month as an anonymous source — citing concerns for his safety — alleged in the letter that he had previously received “death threats” from environmental activists.
There are also significant questions about whether Stone-Manning has really changed her radical views since her eco-terror days as a grad student in Bozeman, as Wyoming’s U.S. Sen. John Barrasso pointed out in USA Today.
In a 2018 article about Western wildfires, her husband wrote in Harper’s magazine that firefighters should just let homes built on the edges of forests burn. “There’s a rude and satisfying justice,” he wrote, “in burning down the house of someone who builds in the forest.”
Ms. Stone-Manning is not responsible for the views of her husband. But last September, she called the article a “clarion call” and urged people to read it.
— Tracy Stone-Manning (@StoneManning) September 15, 2020
Meanwhile, Bennet has attempted to burnish his reputation in the Senate as a Democrat sensitive to communities most at risk of wildfires.
Is he really going to turn around and vote to confirm an alleged eco-terrorist who thinks we should just let homes burn because they happen to be adjacent to “the trees?”
The Senate Natural Resources Committee votes on Stone-Manning’s nomination Thursday before it can move to the full Senate for final passage.
If you care to connect with Hickenlooper and Bennet to ask why they support this alleged eco-terrorist’s nomination, their D.C. office contact information is linked below.