A passionate Senate panel found itself deadlocked Thursday over the appointment of Tracy Stone-Manning, who Republicans accused of lying about her connection to a tree-hanging incident in 1989, to the head of the Bureau of Land Management.
The 10-10 vote on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee means Sen. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, must use a seldom-used maneuver to “offload” the Senate nomination. Democrats said they were confident they had the votes to finally confirm it.
Republicans alleged Ms Stone-Manning was aware in advance of a decades-old plot to drive metal spikes into trees in Clearwater National Forest, Idaho, with the aim of prevent the sale of old wood. Ms Stone-Manning, then a graduate student in Montana at the time, typed up and posted a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of one of the activists who planted the trees. She then testified, helping to convict two of the men involved, and described her action as an attempt to warn authorities.
“Tracy Stone-Manning worked with eco-terrorists and lied to our committee. Lying in the United States Senate has consequences. In that case, his actions and lies should cost him this nomination, ”said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the panel’s top Republican.
Democrats disputed this version of events and said the accusations against Ms Stone-Manning were actually about Republicans’ objections to President Biden’s climate change agenda, which includes efforts to phase out oil and gas drilling on the islands. public lands and pivot the country towards renewable energies.
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency of the Home Office that oversees grazing, logging and drilling on 245 million acres of public land and manages 700 million acres of mineral rights. It is responsible for balancing the extraction of oil, gas and coal with recreation and the protection of natural resources.
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico accused Republicans of “character assassination.” Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, chairman of the committee, called the debate around Ms Stone-Manning one of the most “emotional” the panel had held, and described her as a “young sympathizer” with radical environmentalists, who is guilty of no crime and who has had an exemplary career.
“I could not find any credible evidence in the comprehensive records of the tree planting case that Ms. Stone-Manning is an eco-terrorist,” Manchin said, adding, “What I find instead, it’s convincing proof that she has built a solid reputation over the past three decades as a dedicated public servant and problem solver.
Ms. Stone-Manning, 55, is currently a senior conservation policy advisor at the National Wildlife Federation, a non-profit conservation group. She was the chief of the Montana environmental agency and chief of staff to former Governor Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat.