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Close Vote Expected On Biden's BLM Nominee

Tracy Stone-Manning
University of Montana
Tracy Stone-Manning

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will vote on the controversial nomination of Montanan Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the management agency for 245 million acres of federal land out West.

The partisan vote on Thursday is expected to be evenly split with 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats on the committee.

The next step would be for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, to bring the nomination before the full Senate for further action. If the full senate vote would divide along the 50-50 split, the deciding vote would go to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Leading the GOP charge against Stone-Manning's nomination have been Montana’s U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the committee’s ranking member.

The GOP is labeling her “eco-terrorist” because of her involvement in a tree spiking incident in Idaho while she was a student at the University of Montana in the 1980s. And they question the credibility in her testimony before the Senate committee.

Stone-Manning alerted the U.S. Forest Service and cooperated with the resulting investigation, but Daines took to the floor of the Senate on Tuesday to say Stone-Manning knew more about the incident than she has claimed.

“Ms. Stone-Manning has lost her credibility and to move forward with her nomination would cause more controversy and distrust for the leadership at the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Senate and the Biden administration,” Daines says.

Stone-Manning is the former director of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality under for Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and a former state director for Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

It was Tester who introduced her as President Biden’s nominee at the confirmation hearing in June.

A spokesperson for Tester sent YPR this statement from the senator and says Tester looks forward to the vote on Thursday.

“Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has devoted her life to advocating for the public land that drive our economy and serve as the backbone of Montana’s outdoor heritage.”

The Washington Post reports the White House is sticking with her nomination and calls her “exceptionally qualified” for the job.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.