Monday, November 22, 2021

DuBois column: Hiking, Cycling, or Spiking?


Hiking, Cycling, or Spiking?

The United States Senate has confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning as the Director of the Bureau of Land Management. The nomination was highly controversial, and it took two votes for confirmation: one to invoke cloture (end debate) and the other to approve the appointment. Let’s take a peek at what occurred in the Senate chambers.

Leading the opposition was Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo) who spoke on the Senate floor and laid out his reasons for opposing Stone-Manning.

Barrasso began with the statement that the Democrats were bringing forward, “a nominee who collaborated with ecoterrorists, lied to the U.S. Senate, wrote in favor of population control as a problem related to the climate, and promoted the idea that homes built in the forest should be left to burn.”

Barrasso continued:

“Ms. Stone-Manning lied to the Senate…this year about her past association with an ecoterrorist cell that hammered hundreds and hundreds of metal spikes—about 500 pounds of metal spikes—into trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest.

If these metal spikes are struck by a logger’s saw, the injuries to the logger can be fatal. And it is not just loggers who use saws, it is firefighters as well…

Ms. Stone-Manning anonymously sent a threatening letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of the ecoterrorists, of which she was one of the ring leaders, and then spent years covering up their crimes, as well as her own.”

Barrasso also said:

“And 1 year ago—not when she was a graduate student a number decades ago, but 1 year ago—she tweeted an article that her husband had written, calling for homes built in the forest, allowing them to burn during fires. She called the article a ‘clarion call.’ That is not part of the responsibilities and is the exact opposite of what we should expect from the head of the Bureau of Land Management.

Barrasso concluded by saying she was “a dangerous choice” and urging the Senate to reject the nomination.

Coming to Stone-Manning’s defense was Senator Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia. This was key to the eventual majority vote in favor of her nomination. Manchin is not always in lock-step with Biden’s agenda and has opposed some of his other nominations. Add that he is chair of the Senate Committee with jurisdiction, and his support turned the tide in favor of Stone-Manning.

Manchin began by saying he supported Stone-Manning, “after giving very, very, very careful consideration to this serious—and I mean serious—allegations that many of our colleagues have leveled against her.

If there were any truth—a shred of truth—or evidence to support the charges, I wouldn’t be standing here, I couldn’t support her. But I have found no such evidence, and I have looked.”

Manchin continued:   

“A jury heard the evidence in the tree-spiking case. They weighed its credibility and reached a unanimous verdict that four men spiked the trees.

I repeat: Four help spiked the trees in the Clearwater National Forest.

All four of them admitted that they spiked the trees. All four of them admitted they spiked these trees. And each identified the other three as their accomplice. Each one identified the other.

And you know what. Ms. Stone Manning was not one of them. None of the four said she was.

Concerning lying to the Committee, Manchin said that after reviewing the record, he found that Stone-Manning “was not a target of the investigation in 1993.”

Manchin concluded by saying:

“In sum, I am unable to find any credible evidence in the exhaustive trial record of the tree-spiking case that supports the allegations levied against Ms. Stone-Manning. What I find instead in the committee’s hearing record on her nomination is compelling evidence that Ms. Stone-Manning has built a solid reputation over the past three decades as a dedicated public servant.”

Probably the best line in all of the statements that day came from, believe it or not, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

After discussing Stone-Manning’s “history of aiding ecoterrorism” and her “blatant dishonesty” about being investigated, Romney said her heading the BLM “would be like nominating Bernie Madoff to serve as the Treasury Secretary.”

In my book, though, the best overall statement came from Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).

He made the tree-spiking personal, when he said:

“…back in 1987, a 23-year-old mill worker name George Alexander struck a tree spike—a tree spike like this one—in the log that he was processing. His sawblade shattered, and it caused a wound stretching from his eye all the way down to his chin. His teeth were smashed, and his jaw was brutally dashed in half…

Just 2 years later, Tracy Stone-Manning rented a typewriter to disguise her identy. She then typed and sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of an ecoterrorist group. She conspired to spike trees with spikes just like this one—hundreds and hundreds of pounds of spikes just like this one. In so doing, endangered the lives of foresters, of loggers, and firefighters. She ended the letter with the following words:

You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt."

Senator Lee continued:

“Now, beyond her involvement with the ecoterrorist group, since her hearing, we learned of public statements she made just months ago calling for homes to burn in forest fires. We learned of statements she made saying grazing is destroying the West and calling for population control measures and even labeling children as environmental hazards.”

Senator Lee concluded his remarks by saying:

“Her past actions, her positions, her statements, and her goals would each, individually, disqualify her from service. But combined, they make her a, frankly, offensive candidate to the countless people in Utah and throughout the West and beyond who rely on Bureau of Land Management cooperation for their livelihoods and for their way of life.”

What was Senator Lee referring to on livestock grazing? It was her master’s thesis where she wrote that livestock grazing is “destroying the west.”

Further, she wrote:

“It is overgrazed. Most likely, the grasses won’t grow back, because the topsoil took flight. Worse still, the government encourages this destruction. It charges rancher under $2 a month to graze each cow and calf on public land –- your land.”

The opposition’s efforts were to no avail, as the Senate voted to invoke cloture 50-48 and to confirm the nomination 50-45. 

Did you enjoy your peek into one day’s actions in the U.S. Senate? Me neither. 

Recall that Trump nominated a Sagebrush Rebel for the BLM position, but eventually backed down and withdrew the nomination. Biden nominated a supporter of tree-spiking, stuck by her and she was confirmed. A Sagebrush Rebel is unacceptable to the powers that be, but a tree-spiker? That, apparently, is okay. 

Until next time, be a nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch. 

Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner ( and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship and The DuBois Western Heritage Foundation

This column was originally published in the November editions of the New Mexico Stockman and the Livestock Market Digest.



Paul D. Butler said...

Illustrates the danger of believing Joe Manchin is anything else but just another radical leftist DC sewer rodent

Frank DuBois said...

Guess how many acres BLM has in West Va.? 0
Manchin has been taking heat from the progressive left wing of his party so this was a free giveaway vote for him politically...and makes him exactly what you described.