(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden’s candidate to head the Bureau of Land Management is set to sit in a nomination hearing Thursday at which she is expected to be rejected by Republicans who have called for her nomination to be withdrawn.
Biden nominated Tracy Stone-Manning to head BLM in April, but her ties with radical environmentalists in the 1980s quickly raised her into controversy. Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee sent a letter last week urging Biden to withdraw the nomination, pointing to Stone-Manning’s alleged involvement in “tree spikes.”
Tree spiking is a dangerous practice by some more radical environmentalists, say critics of the practice. It involves hammering metal spikes and nails into trees, often near the base, so that if the tree is felled or processed in a logging facility, saws will damage it. This practice can seriously injure or kill workers if the saw breaks upon impact with the unexpected metal bars.
“A lumberjack or sawmill worker can be seriously injured or even killed if his saw cuts into a tree top and breaks,” the letter said. “In fact, the lives of the main saw and other sawmill workers at the Plum Creek Manufacturing sawmill in Pablo, Montana were at risk when their saw struck one of the tree tops in the 1989 incident. Fire fighters are also at risk from tree tops. We understand that some of the tree tops from the 1989 incident are still there and still pose a serious threat to public safety today. “
The letter goes on, alleging that Stone-Manning was dishonest during previous testimony for saying she was not involved in tree tops and was never under federal investigation. Others later disagreed with this statement, saying Stone-Manning was involved in the planning of the tree top.
Stone-Manning has admitted that she wrote a letter warning Forest Service about the spikes, but has denied that she was involved in installing them.
“We do not make this request easy,” says the letter. “MS. Stone-Manning made false and misleading statements in an affidavit to the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee [Committee] about their activities in connection with an eco-terrorist cell whose tree tops in the Clearwater National Forest, Idaho, put lives at risk in 1989. “
Stone-Manning did not respond directly to all allegations, but will likely have her opportunity during Thursday’s hearing.
When asked Monday whether growing opposition to the Stone-Manning nomination had influenced President Joe Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not say so.
“[Biden] stands by his candidate and is looking forward to her being confirmed, ”said Psaki at a press conference.
Biden’s candidate has also faced opposition from interest groups, adding to the growing pressure that will be exposed at Thursday’s confirmation hearing.
“Joe Biden’s appointment of a woman with known ties to eco-terrorism shows how little respect he has for America’s workers,” said Daniel Turner, founder of energy advocacy group, Power the Future. “This person was associated with groups whose actions mutilated workers and tried to kill them. She is unworthy of any position in a just world, but Joe Biden’s desire to appease the radical green movement replaces decency or a commitment to courtesy.
Larry Behrens, director of Power The Future in the western states, urged the US Senators from New Mexico to vote against their approval.
“New Mexico senators should not condone misleading statements and worse, dangerous tree-top activity that can endanger lives,” Behrens told The Center Square. “Senators [Martin] Heinrich and [Ben Ray] Lujan has enthusiastically supported every radical candidate proposed by this government, but they must draw a line when a candidate shows hateful behavior. “