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The Senate confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after months of attempts by conservatives to thwart her approval. While Republican leaders protested her confirmation because of her involvement with a tree-spiking incident in 1989, 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 after the Trump Administration relocated the agency’s headquarters to Colorado and implemented an “energy-first” agenda.
The BLM is an essential part of the Interior Department, especially in fighting climate change. It manages 245 million acres of public land and 700 million acres of mineral rights, ensuring that oil, gas, and coal extraction do not interfere with the 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 when Stone-Manning, who is now 56 years old, was a graduate student. At the time, she warned the US Forest Service that two men planned to spike trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest, a tactic that would damage logging machinery but also put workers in danger. Even though Stone-Manning testified against the men in a trial convicting them, Republicans have dubbed her an“eco-terrorist.”
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.
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