Sullivan Calls on Biden to Withdraw BLM Nominee Tied to Eco-terrorism

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) last night called on President Joe Biden to withdraw his nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to serve as the next director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Sen. Sullivan argued that Stone-Manning is unfit to serve due to her troubling history with Earth First!, a radical environmental group involved in eco-terrorist activities, like tree spiking. 

On Monday, the former BLM director during the Obama administration, Bob Abbey, called on Stone-Manning to withdraw her nomination.


Madam President, I am here on the Senate floor this afternoon to call on President Biden to withdraw his nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning. He should withdraw her for the reasons I am going to talk about here on the Senate floor, but let me stipulate that, while I have often spoken about what I consider far-left extremist environmentalists who are taking over many elements of the Biden administration, often in the context of why I voted against their confirmation, I have not yet called on--haven't in my entire Senate career--a nomination to be withdrawn before they even have gone through their [vote] before a Senate committee. But I am doing it this afternoon.

The reason I have never done this before is because we have not yet confronted someone with Tracy Stone-Manning's past, which involves being a member, part of an extreme group that performed violent acts as part of their platform for getting attention in America--violence, a group engaging in overt ecoterrorism.

By the way, this is becoming a bipartisan issue--a serious bipartisan issue--as I am going to talk about in a little bit more detail.

The Director of BLM from the Obama-Biden administration just yesterday made a statement saying that, if these allegations are true, which they are, then, he firmly believes that her nomination should be withdrawn by the President. That is Mr. Bob Abbey. So this is a serious issue, and it is a bipartisan issue.

Before I talk about Tracy Stone-Manning's involvement with ecoterrorism, let me start by saying that BLM is an incredibly important and very powerful Federal Agency, particularly as it relates to my State, the great State of Alaska. The Alaska BLM manages more surface and subsurface acres in my State than in any other State in the country, by far. In fact, I haven't done the math, but I believe that they manage more acreage in Alaska than they do in the rest of the lower 48 combined. That is how important BLM is in my State. 

Let me give you some of the numbers. This includes over 70 million surface acres of land and 220 million subsurface acres. That is the land equivalent to about one-fifth of the entire lower 48 States. Most States can't even comprehend that size. One-fifth of the lower 48 of the United States of America is the amount of land BLM manages just in the great State of Alaska. So it is a huge amount of land and, of course, by definition, it is a huge amount of power that this Federal Agency has over my State and the people I am honored to represent. 

And it is imperative--imperative--for the Director of this Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, with so much power and so much control over my State and its future in economic opportunity for working Alaskan families--that the manager of BLM for the country be trustworthy--to be honest, to be fairminded, to be beyond reproach, and, certainly, not to have been involved in an organization that perpetuated violence against its fellow Americans. 

And from what we know about Tracy Stone-Manning, she is none of these things--trustworthy, honest, and fairminded.

That this administration is full of people with far-left agendas certainly isn't surprising. We all know that the national Democratic Party is much further to the left than they were even 4 years ago with the Obama-Biden administration. But what is shocking beyond surprising is that the President of the United States would put forward someone for this incredibly important position in BLM who is not only far left but a member of a group that was an ecoterrorist organization, a group that was undertaking violence against their fellow Americans so they could make a point on environmental issues in America.

This is not an exaggeration. Tracy Stone-Manning was a member of Earth First!, a radical, far-left group that has engaged repeatedly in what is defined as ecoterrorism.

But she wasn't just a member of Earth First!; she herself was complicit in putting metal spikes--big, thick ones--in trees that were meant to either threaten to hurt or gravely injure those Americans who were harvesting trees, who were cutting down trees legally, who were putting trees in saw mills legally.

This was a common technique--tree spiking--deployed by such ecoterrorists in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Earth First! called such tactics “monkey wrenching.” That is kind of cute. It is dangerous. It could kill people--”monkey wrenching.”

Logging crews and the Americans who were legally harvesting timber in our country might have called such tactics terrifying, and certainly called such tactics very, very dangerous. 

So let me briefly talk about the group that Tracy Stone-Manning was a member of. Earth First! began in 1980 by disaffected environmentalists who thought the movement wasn't radical enough, thought the movement wasn't getting enough attention. So they founded a new group that wanted to get more attention, sometimes by perpetuating violence. Among its proposed founding principles, “all human decisions should consider Earth first, mankind second”--I am quoting now--”mankind second.” OK. Not sure many U.S. Senators would agree with that. And “the only true test of morality is whether an action, individual, social or political, benefits the earth.” These are founding principles of this organization.

Given these principles, it is no mystery that the group's slogan is this: “No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth.” In their view, “no compromise” meant destroying property, putting steel spikes in trees that could kill someone trying to harvest a tree, and Earth First! celebrated and encouraged such actions.

The group even put out a manual--yes, a manual--detailing tree spiking and instructions on how to do other sabotage activities: cut down powerlines, flatten tires, burn machinery of those who were trying to harvest trees legally.

We harvest trees legally in Alaska. We have loggers who do that, who are from hard-working families.

David Foreman, the founder of Earth First!, talked about all of these activities, and he said: “This is where the ecoteur can have fun.” That is a quote from the founder of Earth First! “Fun.” That is what he called this--”fun.”

Tell that to those violently hurt by some of Earth First!'s tactics.

This is how an article in the Washington Post, from this time, described such an incident of tree spiking that severely, violently hurt one of our fellow Americans. And now I am going to quote from this article: 

George Alexander, a third-generation mill worker, was just starting his shift at the Louisiana-Pacific lumber mill in Cloverdale, Calif., when the log that would alter his life rolled down his conveyor belt toward a high-speed saw he was working on.

By the way, I have seen these saws in Alaska, in mills in Alaska. They are huge. This isn't just some kind of tiny saw. They are gigantic, and they spin at incredibly fast speeds with huge teeth. They are dangerous, even when you are operating without tree spikes in the trees.

Let me continue. Here is the continuation of this article from the Washington Post: It was May 1987, and George Alexander was 23 years old. His job was to split logs. He was nearly 3 feet away when the log he was working on hit his saw, and the saw, this giant saw, exploded. One-half of the blade stuck in the log. The other half hit Alexander in the head--again, these are giant saws--tearing through his safety helmet and tearing through his face shield. His face was slashed from eye to chin, his teeth were smashed, and his jaw was cut in half. 

That is what Earth First! did to this young American doing his job with a tree spike in it.

I am continuing with the Washington Post article: George Alexander had never even heard of a sabotage tactic called tree spiking until he himself had become a victim of “eco-terrorism.”

That is the Washington Post's word, not my word, “eco-terrorism.”

Someone who objected to tree cutting had imbedded a huge steel spike in the log that violently jammed the saw. 

And changed George Alexander's life. Tree spiking.

That is the Washington Post. 

These were the kinds of tactics that Tracy Stone-Manning, the Biden administration's choice to lead the BLM for America, once conspired in. Does that disturb you, America?

Every U.S. Senator on the floor here in this body should be very, very disturbed.

Mr. President--and now I am talking to the President of the United States--think about this, sir. I say respectfully: Come on, man. This is the most qualified American citizen you can find to be the BLM Director? 

She was part of a group--not just a radical, extreme environmental group but a radical, extreme, violent, environmental group. 

President Biden, this should be a redline that we all agree to: no nominees who conducted violence against their fellow Americans.

But what did she do specifically? The Biden administration's Director of BLM--nominated Director of BLM--here is what she did. In 1989, she did a friend, a fellow Earth First! colleague--”comrade” maybe is a better word--she did a friend, a comrade, a fellow comrade a favor. She rewrote word-for-word a profane, anonymous letter from this member of Earth First! about the 500 pounds of tree spikes that Earth First! had hammered into trees in Idaho--by Earth First! Pretty dangerous. Pretty violent. She rewrote the letter on a rented typewriter because, she later told a reporter, “her fingerprints were all over” it. So she knew she was obviously involved in criminal activity. So she didn't just handwrite it. She didn't want her fingerprints on it. She typed it. She then sent the letter to the FBI.

She kept quiet on what she did for years--that was in 1989--until she came forward in 1993 and received immunity for her part in this tree spiking in Idaho, 500 pounds of spikes. This is a serious operation. Deadly. Could be deadly. She received immunity for her part in this tree spiking when prosecutors went after the other members of Earth First! and she testified about it. 

Here is something that should be very simple for all of us. No matter how young, no matter how naive, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management for the United States of America should not--and I repeat, should not--have ever been involved in ecoterrorism. That is simply unacceptable, and the President of the United States should get that, and certainly every U.S. Senator should get that. 

Working with people who were so radical on environmental issues that they thought it was OK to perpetuate violence against their fellow American citizens--come on, man.

President Biden, you cannot be serious. 

It is not only me who thinks this is an outrage. I want to compliment my Senate colleague Senator Barrasso, who has been doing a great job. Unfortunately, our press has been asleep at the switch. Senator Barrasso has been doing a great job of highlighting these very issues. But, as I said earlier, this is now becoming a bipartisan issue. It is not just me and Senator Barrasso who have been raising this issue. Just yesterday, Bob Abbey, who led the BLM from 2009 through 2012 under President Obama and Vice President Biden, said the following:

If the reports regarding Ms. Stone-Manning's involvement with spiking trees are true, then I firmly believe she should immediately withdraw her name from further consideration for the BLM director job. 

Let me read that again. The BLM Director of the Biden-Obama administration just yesterday said the following:

If the reports regarding Ms. Stone-Manning's involvement with spiking trees are true, then I firmly believe she should immediately withdraw her name from further consideration for the BLM director job.

Well, guess what. The reports about her involvement with tree spiking by the ecoterrorist organization Earth First! meant to harm her fellow Americans are true. They are true.

Madam President, there are other issues that also call into question Ms. Stone-Manning's character. I am not going to get into these. I will let others focus on them--low interest loans, other things. That is in some ways, in my view, a distraction. Her involvement with an organization that was focused on ecoterrorism certainly disqualifies her, and the President of the United States should know this. 

I didn't agree with Bob Abbey on much when he was the head of BLM under the Obama-Biden administration, but I certainly agree with him about Tracy Stone-Manning, and I believe the President of the United States should withdraw her name from further consideration. If the President doesn't do that because he gets pressure from the extreme left, then I certainly hope--I certainly hope--my colleagues here in the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, will resoundingly vote to reject this nomination when it comes to the Senate floor. 

Yes, we have differences on issues of resource development, energy for America, certainly on issues of jobs and resource development in my great State, the great State of Alaska. We have differences. There is no doubt about it. But here is the thing: We all know--I think every one of us, all 100 Senators, know and would say publicly that these differences should be resolved peacefully in debates here on the Senate floor, at the ballot box, arguing these issues--forcefully, yes, but not violently, not with violence. 

So if this nominee comes to this floor, it shouldn't be even a close vote; it should be 100 to 0 rejecting her. 

To my Democratic colleagues, I hope you join me, like Mr. Bob Abbey, in saying: Mr. President, guess what--you screwed up here. Withdraw her. 

But if he won't do that, I hope every U.S. Senator votes against this. We cannot condone, endorse, or vote for somebody who has been part of an ecoterrorist, radical, extreme, violent organization.

My colleagues, America will be watching. If you vote for her, you have to go home and explain that vote to your fellow Americans. As I mentioned, it is one thing for this administration to put forward far-left, extreme environmental nominees. It is quite another to put forward a far-left, extreme, violent environmental nominee, and that is what she is. 

To the President of the United States: Respectfully, sir, you need to withdraw this nomination.

To my colleagues on the Senate floor here: Respectfully to all of you, if the President doesn't take this commonsense action, we need to decisively reject this nomination when it comes to the floor of the U.S. Senate. 

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