The Phoenix Flyer

U.S. Senate to vote on Montana’s Tracy Stone-Manning as public lands chief

By: - September 28, 2021 8:39 pm

The Bureau of Land Management manages livestock grazing on 155 million acres of these lands. Credit: Website, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior.

The U.S. Senate is set to vote as soon as Thursday on the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning, a conservation advocate and former top aide to Montana Democrats, to lead the Bureau of Land Management, putting the end to her contentious confirmation process in sight.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on Stone-Manning’s nomination, setting the stage for a confirmation vote that could come later this week. If all Republicans in the evenly divided Senate oppose the nomination, Vice President Kamala Harris would be needed to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Tracy Stone-Manning testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during a hearing on her confirmation to become director of the Bureau of Land Management, on June 8, 2021. (screenshot). Courtesy of Colorado Newsline.

Stone-Manning, a vice president for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, led the Montana Department of Environmental Quality under former Gov. Steve Bullock. She also worked as chief of staff to Bullock and a staffer for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat.

Stone-Manning’s confirmation stalled for weeks this summer as Senate Republicans waged a fiery campaign against her nomination after reports of her involvement in a 1989 tree-spiking incident in an Idaho national forest resurfaced.

Stone-Manning denied firsthand participation in the scheme, an act of eco-terrorism, but did admit to mailing a threatening letter on behalf of a group that included two men later convicted for planning it. Republicans accused her of lying about her involvement, and said she only cooperated with investigators once she became a target.

After an explosive committee markup, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee deadlocked on advancing her nomination. The committee, like the Senate, is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

The full Senate then voted, again along party lines, to discharge the nomination from the panel on a 50-49 vote, with one Republican senator absent, Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

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Jacob Fischler
Jacob Fischler

Jacob Fischler is a national correspondent for States Newsroom, a nonprofit media organization covering state government and politics in state capitals across the country. The Florida Phoenix outlet is a part of the States Newsroom.