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Government & Politics

Montana Senators Split On Biden Land Nominee

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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Biden's nominee for top land official and Missoula local, Tracy Stone-Manning, during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 8, 2021

Montana’s U.S. Senators are taking differing positions on President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met Tuesday to consider the head of the public lands agency.

Tracy Stone-Manning received an introduction from her former boss, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

“Tracy is a proven leader with a track record of working across the aisle to get things down. She is honest, she is driven by facts, not political ideology. She is adept at managing the needs of diverse interests. And I know she’s a perfect choice to run the BLM,” Tester says.

Stone-Manning previously worked as a top aide for Tester and chief of staff for former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Stone-Manning also served as head of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality under Bullock. She is now a senior policy advisor for conservation nonprofit National Wildlife Federation.

GOP members of the Senate questioned her ability to work with Republicans.

Montana’s Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines pressed Stone-Manning on her views on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, sage grouse and mining on public land at her confirmation hearing.

Daines quoted her calling mining in northwest Montana's Cabinet Mountains “philosophically abhorrent” and questioned what it meant for her bigger picture view of mining on public lands.

The last person to lead the Bureau of Land Management under former-Pres. Donald Trump was William Perry Pendley, who in the past has voiced support of selling public lands.

Tester had strongly opposed Pendley’s nomination. Daines never said how he would have voted on Pendley’s nomination, but expressed concern over Pendley’s positions on transferring and selling public lands. The Trump administration pulled its nominee in the fall of 2020.

The Senate committee did not immediately vote on Stone-Manning’s nomination.