Barrasso: Stone-Manning’s Misleading & False Statements Don’t Align with the Facts

July 27, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senator floor about Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to be director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who spiked hundreds of trees in Idaho and then lied to the United States Senate. 

Barrasso is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR). 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“I come to the floor today to strongly oppose the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning. 

“I want to focus my remarks now on the misleading and false statements Tracy Stone-Manning has made to the Senate and how they just don’t align with the facts. 

“On her committee questionnaire – a sworn affidavit every nominee fills out – the committee clearly asks: ‘have you ever been investigated?’ 

“Tracy Stone-Manning said she had not. 

“On the same document, she also stated that she testified for a grand jury about an ‘alleged’ tree spiking. 

“These statement are not true and Ms. Stone-Manning knows it. 

“Tree spiking involves hammering a metal spike like this one into the trunk of a tree.

 “Eco-terrorists use spikes like this to prevent loggers from harvesting trees. 

“If a sawblade hits that spike, it destroys the saw and metal shrapnel flies in every direction. 

“The results can be catastrophic. 

“Make no mistake, there was nothing ‘alleged’ about this. 

“The trees in the Clearwater National Forest were spiked in 1989. 

“Individuals were found guilty of this crime and a local sawmill was damaged as a result of these spikes. 

“Some of the trees standing today are still spiked, so can still do damage to loggers, to firefighters. 

“These are serious dangers and damages that can occur to people still, today. 

“If there is a forest fire in the Clearwater National Forest, a smoke jumper may need to cut down trees to slow the spread of the fire. 

“If that person hits a spike with a chainsaw – it could kill or maim the firefighter. 

“Worse still, Tracy Stone-Manning knew who the eco-terrorists were and she could have turned them in at the start. 

“In 1989, she edited, typed, and sent this vile, threatening letter to the men and women of the U.S. Forest Service. 

“She did it on behalf of the tree spikers. 

“That letter included lines like, ‘You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,’ and ‘I would be more than willing to pay you a dollar for the sale, but you would have to find me first and that could be your WORST nightmare.’ 

“Tracy Stone-Manning has said since the incident that she mailed this disturbing, threatening letter to warn people of the danger of the spiked trees. 

“But she didn’t go to the authorities. 

“She didn’t go to the police. 

“She took extraordinary steps to ensure that she and the tree spikers would never get caught. 

“If she had gone to the police, the Forest Service would have been better able to identify the spiked trees.  

“Instead, she covered up for the criminals for years.  

“All the while, these trees remained spiked and remain incredibly dangerous. 

“Ms. Stone-Manning told our committee she was never investigated. 

“Well, that was a lie. 

“Following the tree spiking in 1989, she was subpoenaed by investigators to provide hair samples, fingerprints, writing samples, and other physical evidence. 

“Press articles from the time confirm this fact, as do the court documents obtained by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

“This is was further verified by the letter that our committee received from the lead criminal investigator for the U.S. Forest Service, Mr. Michael Merkley. 

“We received this letter after she testified in front of the Senate committee a few months ago. 

"He wrote, ‘…the grand jury issued subpoenas for hair samples, hand writing exemplars, and finger prints. These subpoenas were served on persons suspected of having knowledge of the incident, including Tracy Stone-Manning.’ 

“But don’t take his word for it, let’s listen to the words of Tracy Stone-Manning herself. 

“In a 1990 article about law enforcement’s investigation at the University of Montana, she complained about how the investigation made her feel. 

“She said, ‘It was degrading. It changed my awareness of the power of the government.’ 

“Through this entire period, she did not tell the truth to the investigators. 

“Remember, she knew who spiked the trees. 

“She sent the threatening letter for them. 

“She never went to the police and she never identified the eco-terrorists. 

“She also didn’t cooperate. 

“The lead investigator said in his letter, that the committee has received since the time she testified at the committee a few months ago, ‘Through this initial investigation in 1989, Ms. Stone-Manning was extremely difficult to work with; in fact she was the nastiest of the suspects. She was vulgar, antagonistic, and extremely anti-government.’ 

“He goes on to say she refused to comply with the investigation until she learned that she would be arrested if she did not. 

“But the investigation of Tracy Stone-Manning did not end in 1989 with the subpoenas. 

“In December of 1992, after years of her covering up for the eco-terrorists, she was identified as the one who sent the threatening letter. 

“A woman connected to the group came forward and gave her name to investigators. 

“Mr. Merkley writes, ‘as a result of Ms. Lilburn’s testimony, the grand jury sent Tracy Stone-Manning a target letter, which meant she was going to be indicted on criminal charges for her active participation in planning these crimes.’ 

“Her lawyer then negotiated an immunity deal. 

“She would testify against the individuals who spiked the trees. 

“She knew she could have been charged. 

“In an interview published in a 1993 article in The Missoulian – ‘Stone-Manning said she could have been charged with conspiracy’ if not for her immunity deal. 

“Remember, she told the Senate she had never been investigated. 

“She was subpoenaed for physical evidence. 

“She was investigated. 

“She didn’t cooperate with investigators. 

“She complained to the press about being investigated. 

“And she covered up for the eco-terrorists for years until she was caught. 

“But that wasn’t her only lie. 

“On our committee’s questions for the record, I asked her: ‘Did you have personal knowledge of, participate in, or in any way directly or indirectly support activities associated with the spiking of trees in any forest during your lifetime?’ 

“She responded: ‘no.’ 

“Everyone knows that is a lie. 

“She sent the letter. 

“She knew who they were. 

“She supported their activities. Period. 

“The lead investigator’s letter makes clear she knew of the plan to spike the trees in the Idaho forest in advance. 

“He wasn’t the only one to say she knew in advance. 

“One of the convicted tree spikers, one of the people who went to jail, told E&E News, ‘She knew about it far in advance, a couple of months before we headed out.’ 

“He continues, ‘She had agreed to mail the letter well in advance.’ 

“To be clear – After Stone-Manning had her confirmation hearing in the Senate – two people with direct knowledge came forward. 

“One was the cop, the criminal investigator, who investigated the crime. 

“The other was the criminal who was convicted. 

“Both the cop and the criminal say she lied. 

“Ms. Stone-Manning helped plan the tree spiking. 

“She knew about it in advance. 

“She sent the threatening letter to the Forest Service. 

“She was investigated.

“She collaborated with eco-terrorists. 

“She lied to the Senate. 

“Lying to the United States Senate has consequences. 

“In this case, her actions and her lies should cost her this nomination.”