Senate Confirms Accused Eco-Terrorist to Lead Bureau of Land Management

By Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times.
September 30, 2021 Updated: September 30, 2021

The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of accused eco-terrorist Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management, overcoming Republican opposition by invoking cloture to end debate.

The Senate voted for cloture 50-48 along party lines. Senators Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) and Jon Cornyn (R.-Texas) did not vote.

Her nomination was approved by a 50-45 vote.

The extent of Stone-Manning’s involvement in eco-terrorism has been a matter of significant dispute.

In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Stone-Manning maintained she “had no involvement in the spiking of trees” as a graduate student at the University of Montana, claiming she merely retyped and sent a written warning to the U.S. Forest Service from fellow activist John Blount about an act of tree spiking in Idaho’s Post Office Timber Sale, after which she worked with her attorney to gain immunity for testifying in the trial of Blount and others.

But the USDA Forest Service agent who investigated that tree-spiking incident, Michael Merkley, disagrees.

In a letter to that same committee, he claimed that Blount’s one-time girlfriend, Guenevere Lilburn, told Merkley that Stone-Manning had helped plan the tree spiking, even deliberating whether to use metal or ceramic spikes. Merkley further stated that “Ms. Stone-Manning only came forward only after her attorney struck the immunity deal, and not before she was caught.”

A woman who appears to be Lilburn has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Epoch Times.

Merkley has also argued that Stone-Manning violated several federal laws, including by downplaying her involvement during nomination hearings before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“By typing the threatening letter to the Forest Service, she was aiding and abetting those who committed an offense against the United States. When she hid her knowledge of the crime for three years and was intentionally obstructive while under investigation, she made herself an accessory after the fact,” Merkley wrote in a Sept. 30 Fox News op-ed.

“By not immediately reporting the crime or divulging what she knew about who was involved, she concealed a felony. When she planned to mail the threatening letter to the Forest Service she involved herself in a conspiracy against the United States. It was also a felony to send the letter through the U.S. Postal Service.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R.-Wyo.), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources, voiced his strong opposition to Stone-Manning’s nomination in remarks before the full Senate, citing statements from Stone-Manning beyond her remarks on eco-terrorism.

“She has written articles and a graduate thesis supporting the idea of human population control,” said Barrasso.

“And one year ago, she tweeted an article her husband had written calling for homes built in the forest—allowing them to burn during fires.”

“Tracy Stone-Manning is a dangerous choice to be put in charge of America’s public lands, and each and every senator who votes to confirm her will be held personally responsible for that vote,” Barrasso later added.

Democrats voiced their support for Stone-Manning on the floor, including Sen. Jon Tester (D.-Mont.), who said that “Tracy Stone-Manning did nothing wrong” before responding directly to Barrasso’s comments.

“Character assassination isn’t something we should put up with in this body,” said Tester. “God only knows if we looked into the past of everyone who serves here, what we might find.”

“But I’m here to tell you, to listen to the senator from Wyoming and say, ‘We’re going to hold every Democrat accountable’—you’re damn right. Hold me accountable for Tracy Stone-Manning.”

Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times.