During a recent budgetary hearing, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., pressed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland about Bureau of Land Management nominee Tracy Stone–Manning’s history with tree spiking and other forms of eco-terrorism.
It’s hard to imagine a nominee more disqualified than Tracy Stone-Manning. She collaborated with eco-terrorists, she lied to the Senate, and she continues to harbor extremist views most Americans find reprehensible. https://t.co/IkthjdkeyN pic.twitter.com/26FX21FNKA
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) July 22, 2021
An investigator called into question the nomination of Stone–Manning to lead the bureau after revealing she was the target of a federal probe concerning her radical activism.
In a letter to Barrasso, retired investigator Michael Merkley said that Stone–Manning was an active member of Earth First, which planted trees with spikes to make it dangerous or deadly to harvest the trees for lumber.
Secretary Haaland refused to take responsibility for the Biden nominee’s political positions, offering only vaguely worded replies to Barrasso’s questions.
“I have some short questions for you,” began Barrasso during the budget hearing. “If you could please respond briefly. The first has to do with tree spiking, where people drive metal spikes into trees. Can tree spiking kill or maim loggers and mill workers?”
“Senator, I imagine so,” Haaland equivocated. “I was not familiar with that practice until recently.”
When asked if the practice of tree-spiking was crime, Haaland was equally non-responsive, saying that she couldn’t say “for sure” if tree spiking was a crime, but she could “imagine” it would be dangerous.
Tree-spiking was implicated in a 1987 case, in which a 23-year-old mill worker was maimed, according to the Washington Post.
When pressed if individuals “who plan or otherwise are involved in tree-spiking incidents and threaten physical safety of federal officials” should be hired by the Department of the Interior, Haaland simply claimed that decision was above her pay grade.
“Senator, I believe you’re referring to the nominee, Tracy Stone–Manning,” said Haaland. “I also recognize that she was nominated by President Biden because he felt she could do the job and that she was qualified.”
Barrasso then laid out Stone–Manning’s extremist views. They included looking at children as an environmental danger and advocating the burning of houses built in forests. Haaland denied any knowledge of the Stone–Manning statements, saying she hadn’t “heard all of these statements.”
“You wouldn’t necessarily want to hire an employee in a land-management position who agrees or puts forth these statements about ‘satisfying justice’ about letting houses burn or ‘children as environmental hazards,’” asked Barrasso finally.
Once again Haaland claimed the decision was above her pay grade.
“Senator, what I will say is that I, as secretary of the Interior, am not personally hiring anyone. I believe that is a team effort and I know that the Senate plays a very large role in any of these positions as well,” Haaland concluded.
Barrasso previously said that Stone–Manning “has no business leading the Bureau of Land Management.”
That judgment was shared by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho.
“Tracy Stone–Manning lied on her ethics paperwork to the U.S. Senate that she had never been the subject of a criminal investigation,” said Risch.
“She doubled down on that lie—and added a new one that she had no knowledge of the 1989 tree spiking plot—in written responses to the U.S. Senate.”