Bureau of Land Management Has First Senate-Confirmed Director in Four Years | Colorado to DC

Tracy Stone-Manning, President Joe Biden’s choice to head the Bureau of Land Management, was confirmed Thursday night in a 50-45 Senate vote.

Stone-Manning will be the first confirmed director of the BLM since the Obama administration, after Neil Kornze, who served from March 2013 to January 2017.

President Donald Trump has never appointed anyone to head the agency, responsible for managing 10% of the country’s land, including 8.3 million acres of public land and 27 million acres of federal mining estate in Colorado. The agency, which is part of the Home Office, was run for two years under the Trump administration by an interim director, William Perry Pendley, a former Colorado man. Pendley was a longtime BLM critic who advocated for the sale of public land.

Stone-Manning’s confirmation was no cakewalk. She has been accused by Republicans, including Colorado GOP President Kristi Burton Brown, of being an eco-terrorist for her role in a tree crash incident in 1989.

the Associated press reported this incident in June. “As a 23-year-old graduate student at the University of Montana, Stone-Manning sent a letter to federal officials in 1989 saying that spikes had been inserted into trees in the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. People could be injured if logging continued, “according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press from federal records. Stone-Manning admitted that she had re-typed, edited and posted the letter on behalf of the activist. who planted the trees and was then sentenced to 17 months in prison.

Democrats accused Republicans of playing politics with Stone-Manning’s appointment.

Both Colorado senators voted in favor of its confirmation.

US Senator John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Who sits on the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which oversees the BLM, said in a statement Thursday that “Tracy Stone-Manning will partner Colorado and the West must make our new BLM Western headquarters a success. Together, we will protect our public lands.

US Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Said in a statement that “in the face of climate change, we need a Senate-confirmed director who can rebuild the Bureau of Land Management into an agency that will restore and protect our public lands to support our economy in the West. Tracy Stone-Manning has spent her career listening to local commentary and working across the aisle to do just that, which is why I would like to congratulate her on her confirmation today. I look forward to working closely with Tracy and the Home Office leadership to ensure they deliver on their commitment to build and expand BLM Western’s head office in Grand Junction.

Burton Brown said after the confirmation vote that “Today, Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper voted to confirm an eco-terrorist as the head of the Bureau of Land Management. This absolutely shameful vote comes just weeks after he “They have done nothing to defend Colorado or fight to keep the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction. Bennet and Hickenlooper’s vote will be devastating for Colorado and the West.”

Stone-Manning boss Home Secretary Deb Haaland recently announced that BLM’s headquarters in Grand Junction would return to Washington, DC, while strengthening its presence in Grand Junction, where the agency has an office on the field for decades. The relocation of the BLM by career staff at Grand Junction was seen as a division from the agency; only three employees (out of 27 jobs targeted for the move to Grand Junction) moved to the West Slope, and according to a June report in Government executive they want to go back to Washington.

BLM’s move to Grand Junction was championed by the then senator. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., And supported by the rest of the Colorado Congressional delegation, as well as Governor Jared Polis. Then-Home Secretary David Bernhardt said the move would bring agency leaders closer to the land they manage, despite the fact that 97% of BLM employees were already based in the West and would save money. The building chosen by the agency, at 760 Horizon Drive, is home to many companies related to the oil and gas industry. BLM manages oil and gas leases.

A review of the decision by the Government Accounting Office, a 2019 request from Haaland, then a member of the New Mexico House, and U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. criticized BLM’s management for failing to “address key practices for involving employees and key stakeholders in developing its plan.” The Home Office disagreed or disagreed with GAO’s recommendations, and took no action to respond to GAO’s criticism of employee involvement in key decisions. Congress did not have appropriate funding for the move.

Haaland made it clear during a summer visit to Colorado that she was reconsidering her decision. During this visit in July, Haaland pointed out that there were more than 80 vacant positions in the Grand Junction office that could not be filled “we are charting a balanced path forward.”

Home Secretary Deb Haaland meets with Grand Junction executives and BLM employees on future of BLM headquarters

Stone-Manning, 56, was born in Springfield, Virginia. She received a BA in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Maryland and an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. She served eight years as Executive Director of the Clark Fork Coalition, an environmental organization dedicated to the protection of the Clark River. She then worked for U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., As Regional Director and Acting Director of State. From 2017 until this year, she worked for the National Wildlife Federation as Advisor and Associate Vice President for Public Lands.