Sen. John Barrasso holds up an example of a tree spike in a hearing to advance Bureau of Land Management nominee Tracy Stone-Manning to the full Senate on July 22, 2021. Barrasso has been one of Stone-Manning’s chief critics. (Screenshot/U.S. Congress)

Sen. John Barrasso orchestrated a 10-10 deadlock in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Thursday over the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management.

The vote came after Republicans revived a “tree spiking” incident in Idaho in the late 1980s.

Stone-Manning was investigated, but never charged in the scandal. She was later granted prosecutorial immunity to testify against the tree spikers.

Why it Matters: The BLM oversees tens of millions of acres of public lands in Wyoming and the Mountain West, and is the primary agency responsible for the issuance of drilling and grazing permits on those lands. 

History: Observers say the politicization of the BLM nomination process is a recent development in American politics. Stone-Manning’s confirmation process has been one of the most heated in recent memory. 

Stone-Manning boasts extensive experience in environmental policy and land management in Washington D.C. and Montana, where she briefly led that state’s Department of Environmental Quality before taking on an advisory role for then-Gov. Steve Bullock.  

Revelations Stone-Manning may have had prior knowledge of the tree spiking, a type of environmental intervention in which metal rods are driven into trees with the intent of inflicting harm to loggers, have complicated her nomination.

Barrasso’s role: Barrasso led a weeks-long opposition campaign to Stone-Manning’s nomination that culminated in Thursday’s heated debate and deadlocked vote. 

“How can we confirm someone who’s admitted to conspiring with terrorists?” Barrasso asked Thursday.

Democratic New Mexico Sen. Mike Heinrich called Republican opposition to Stone-Manning “the worst example of character assassination” he’d ever seen.

“I am disgusted by what has happened in this committee,” he said.

Barrasso noted that some conservation organizations have withdrawn support over the controversy. Others, including the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, have remained steadfast in their support of Stone-Manning.

“Tracy Stone-Manning will provide the balanced, solutions-oriented leadership that the Bureau of Land Management needs,” WWF director Dwayne Meadows wrote in a July 17 op-ed in the Casper Star-Tribune.

What’s next: With the committee deadlocked, Stone-Manning’s nomination now goes on to a convoluted process in the U.S. Senate.

Barrasso has guaranteed a united opposition from all 50 Senate Republicans.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) voted in favor of her nomination Thursday, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has pledged to advance her nomination once it reaches the Senate floor.

If Schumer delivers on that pledge, Stone-Manning’s nomination would be all but guaranteed with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Support political reporting — donate to WyoFile today

Join the Conversation


Want to join the discussion? Fantastic, here are the ground rules: * Provide your full name — no pseudonyms. WyoFile stands behind everything we publish and expects commenters to do the same. * No personal attacks, profanity, discriminatory language or threats. Keep it clean, civil and on topic. *WyoFile does not fact check every comment but, when noticed, submissions containing clear misinformation, demonstrably false statements of fact or links to sites trafficking in such will not be posted. *Individual commenters are limited to three comments per story, including replies.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. When Tracey Stone flipped on the Earth First! gang, that should’ve been enough evidence to disprove her loyalty to the eco cause — however controversial it may be. Is she an immigrant opportunist who has carved a career in Montana politics — which is so easily accessible to ambitious out-of-staters, no matter which party? Barrasso doesn’t care about that — he just wants to sink someone perceived by him as Progressive. All in all, it’s a very nasty business.

  2. So in summary of the above comments: conservatives don’t want an eco-terrorist, and liberals call all conservatives eco-plunderers. Wouldn’t it be more productive to find a candidate that has solid credentials, with an understanding that both sides want the public land to be protected while at the same time meeting the multiple use mandates? Surely, there must be some ability to compromise and protect the citizens land instead of resorting to character assassination.

  3. Barrasso conveniently ignores the running reality that the real domestic ec0-terrorists on public lands are his own Republican Party leadership and legislative enablers. Including himself.

    As a method of environmentally conscionable mitigation that utilizes green energy , we could always start a Go Fund Me to buy Barrasso a bicycle…

  4. Over time things work out. So you get a corporate land grabber in one
    administration and you get an environmentalist in the next. Things iron out in the end.

  5. This guy is one of the most partisan disrupters in congress. I sure do wish Wyoming voters would rid themselves of all the carpetbaggers. He’s the ultimate corporate boot licker. He could care less about the average person in Wyoming.

  6. “conspiring with terrorists” – isn’t that exactly what R’s in Congress are doing regarding the January 6th investigation?

  7. Apparently the NM Senator missed the Kavanaugh and Coney hearings – especially the Kavanaugh hearing. Those were prime examples of character assassination.

    It’s pretty sad. If one of Trumps nominees had lied like Stone-Manning the media would have been howling. But not the liberal left media. She failed to disclose and in effect lied during her hearings and the media goes ahead and covers for her. The fact is she did mail the letter, she did conspire with the cohorts she testified against and received immunity for said testimony. You do not need immunity if you “may have” done something. You only need immunity when you are trying to escape going to jail. A good journalist would have taken an unbiased approach and truly investigated what she did or did not do.

    We do not need an eco=terrorist as the BLM director, we need a BLM director that will look at all the users of public land and incorporate that into their policies. We need a common sense approach to managing public lands, not someone from the liberal fringes that only considers a small group of users opinions. Biden is not building consensus, he’s pandering to the fringes of the left and the selection of Stone-Manning is yet another example.

    1. over 4500 complaints lodged against kavanaugh during his confirmation. let’s just pretend that only 10% of the complaints were legit. that still leaves 450 complaints that possibly could have backed up the sexual harassment and discrimination stories from christine blasey ford. I say COULD have backed up, because don mcgann and the chrump white house never pursued any of them.

      are you saying over 4500 complaints about a supreme court justice is a “character assassination”? or do you stand behind kavanugh’s unhinged rant about the conspiracy of clinton globalists that were just out to get him? We can forget about all the other complaints and issues that were brought up with the rest of chrumps nominees…

      it’s convenient to have a short term memory when you act as partisan as all the other chrump fan boys.

      1. No short term memory problems.. Just a common sense view that certain spectrum’s of society tend to miss. The Kavanaugh hearings had the left frothing at the mouth they were so riled up. It was despicable what the Democrats did to him, so I am not surprised 4,500 complaints came out of the woodwork. .

        Stone-Manning is a eco-terrorrist – admitted to boot. Again, you do not get immunity for doing nothing. And contrary to your and Mr. Reading’s unfounded opinions, I do want a commons sense oriented BLM Director that protects our public lands and the value they bring to society. The two of you assume those on the more conservative end of the spectrum default to plundering but there are quite a few of concerned about protecting private lands and the environment.

        Back to Stone-Manning. Immunity for participation in a terrorist activity, lied to congress, not sure there is much else left to talk about. If this had been a Trump appointee the left would be howling mad………just like the Kavanaugh hearings.

        1. your “concern” is fabricated and you are being disingenuous.

          Gorsuch had no such issues with his character. while there were objections to him being appointed, it was a matter of his policy and not his personal or professional life. the amount of wholly unqualified people that the chrump fan boys supported are night and day different to any of the people who are trying to be confirmed within the Biden administration. how many of chrumps appointees resigned within the first year? again, your short term memory is convenient.

          I guess the clinton globalist conspiracy against kavanaugh is as accepted by chrump fan boys just like the election “fraud” nonsense?

          1. My concern is not fabricated, it based on facts. Stone-Manning was given immunity to avoid jail time for doing something illegal. Those are facts. You continue to divert attention from the facts to some Clinton inspired conspiracy about so called “chrumps” which I assume is some self created attempt to be derogatory towards someone you disagree with. So I’ll break it down so you can easily understand it. The opposition to Stone-Manning has nothing to do with Trump, nothing to do with Clinton, nothing to do with some half baked conspiracy you keep alluding too. Stone-Manning lied to congress about her involvement in an illegal act and to protect herself secured immunity against her co-conspirators by testifying against them. Stone-Manning, with her past and extreme views should not be the director of the BLM.

          2. mr. dickherson, your concern for truth and disdain for lying under oath isn’t credible when you are able to turn it on and off depending on which “team” they are from.


        2. The real eco-terrorists are timber companies, livestock farmers, wind and solar farm builders, and mining and drilling industries. If a tree chopper knows that trees are spiked and is dumb enough to try to saw it down with a chain saw, then my sympathy is limited.

        3. “…unfounded…? That’s a good one! You conservatives do have a sense of humor of sorts.

          Get the REAL eco-terrorists OFF PUBLIC LANDS, for good.

    2. Oh, I see. You want a REAL eco-terrorist, one who will let the plunderers have their way with public lands…

    3. The most important charge for federal land is to protect it. I’m not against responsible energy development, but it rarely happens. The Public commonly has to clean up the mess, plug drilling holes, etc. Much of PUBLIC land should be preserved. As far as justice Kavanaugh , the only court he belongs in is a kangaroo court. The guys behavior was outrageous- like a little kid.

  8. As usual, conservatives show their true love of and support for plunderers, using every filthy weapon they have. Who knows, maybe people will finally awaken to the danger they pose to the entire planet. Then again, this is the US, so they’ll probably shrug and eat a couple more big hamburgers, with extra fries. I just hope Biden and the rest of his gutless party holds firm in support for the nominee but won’t be a bit surprised if he sells her down the river, in typical democrat gutlessness.