Sullivan Criticizes Senate Democrats for Confirming Eco-Terrorist Stone-Manning as BLM Director
“I don't want an ecoterrorist as my state's landlord, and neither do my constituents.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) yesterday voted against confirming Tracy Stone-Manning as director of the Bureau of Land Management. Her nomination was ultimately confirmed by a vote of 50 to 45. For months, Sen. Sullivan has strongly opposed Stone-Manning’s nomination due to her disturbing involvement with eco-terrorists during her time working for EarthFirst!, a violent environmental group, and her misrepresentations about her involvement during her confirmation hearings.
Sullivan also spoke against the nomination of Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s controversial nominee to be comptroller of the currency, who studied at Moscow State University in the former Soviet Union and has demonstrated a history of hostility toward the free-market system.
Mr. President, you see some of my colleagues are down here. We are a little bit fired up. Right? And this is not some kind of partisan game. We are fired up for a reason--that the U.S. Senate is getting ready to confirm a nominee who has no business being even considered on the Senate floor. No business being considered on the Senate floor.
And with all due respect to my colleague from Montana, this isn't--what did he say--attacks against somebody. These are facts that we are going to talk about. These are facts--someone who is still continuing to not even tell the truth about her past as a violent ecoterrorist.
Now, look, we know this administration has put forth far-left individuals. I am going to talk about a few. But to put forward a far-left, violent nominee--I think we all should recognize--is kind of a bridge too far for the U.S. Senate.
But that is happening right now, and I am really hopeful that at least some of my Democratic colleagues, at the last minute, will go: Maybe we shouldn't do this. Maybe we shouldn't set this standard.
So I have been on the floor a number of times talking about Tracy Stone-Manning's nomination. It is actually the first time in my Senate career that I asked the President to withdraw a nominee, and for good reasons--because of all the things you have heard from my colleagues from Wyoming, Idaho; colleagues from mostly Western States.
And I am going to ask my Democratic colleagues from Western States: Do you really want to set this precedent? How are you going to go home and tell people who harvest timber legally for a living that you were good to go with this; good to go with someone who put hundreds of these kinds of tree spikes in trees for people--our fellow Americans--to get hurt?
But that is what we are seeing right here.
You know, I think that maybe the Biden administration, after I and many others requested that they withdraw this nominee, that maybe they thought: Well, look. With all the noise going on around here--a reckless $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend extravaganza, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the crisis on the southern border, inflation going through the roof, the price at the pump hurting working families in my State and those across America, the shutdown of the energy sector unilaterally and then going begging Russia and Iran for more oil that they can import to the United States--I mean, you can't make this stuff up.
But I think the Biden administration thought, with all this chaos that they are creating, maybe nobody will notice Tracy Stone-Manning's confirmation process and vote.
Well, they are wrong. As you see here, there are some really strong feelings about this nominee--a past ecoterrorist; a member of Earth First!, an extreme group that performed violent acts as part of their platform for getting attention in America.
In fact, she is so extreme that the Director of BLM from the Obama-Biden administration, Bob Abbey, made a statement saying that if her violent ecoterrorist past activities were true--and they were. They were. I am going to talk about them. Senator Risch has already talked about them; Senator Barrasso has; Senator Lummis has--if these were true, then President Obama's BLM Director said she does not deserve the job.
So this isn't just Republicans. This is the former Democrat Director of the Agency that we are going to vote on that she wants to lead.
So before I talk a little bit more about her--and I know we have had a number of Senators do it--I want to make another point.
The reason I have been down here so much, focused on this nominee, is that BLM to some states--heck, if you live in Connecticut, probably nobody knows what that is. But the Bureau of Land Management in my State is one of the most powerful Federal Agencies there is in 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.
The BLM Director in Alaska is our landlord, and I don't want an ecoterrorist as my State's landlord, and neither do my constituents.
Let me give you some numbers. The BLM manager in Alaska manages over 70 million surface acres of land and 220 million subsurface acres of land in Alaska.
A little context: That is the equivalent land of about one-fifth of the entire lower 48. Do you see why this is really important to me and my constituents? Most States can't even comprehend land that size. One-fifth of the lower 48 of the United States of America is about the amount of land BLM manages just in my State. This is a huge amount of land, and, of course, by definition, a huge amount of power that this Federal Agency has over the people I am privileged to represent--their work, their jobs, their hunting activities, their subsistence activities. And that is why I have been down here talking about this nominee.
I know to some in East Coast States--forget it. We don't know who she is. No power. She doesn't have any power over New Jersey or some of these other small States on the East Coast.
But in my State, massive power, and it is imperative that the Director of this Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, with so much power and so much control over the future of Alaska and its economic opportunity for working families, that the manager of BLM be trustworthy, be honest, be fairminded, beyond reproach, and certainly not someone who was involved in ecoterrorism earlier in their career.
Is that too much to ask, my colleagues in the Senate?
What we know about Tracy Stone-Manning is, she is none of these things. She hasn't been trustworthy with the Senate, fairminded.
Well, let's go back to a little bit of her background because people need to know this. People need to know this. My colleagues have already done a good job, but I hope the American people are watching this. She was not only a member of Earth First!, a radical far-left group that has engaged repeatedly in what is defined as ecoterrorism, she, herself, was complicit in putting metal spikes--see this--big, thick, metal spikes, by the hundreds, in trees that were meant either to hurt or gravely injure American citizens who were legally harvesting trees.
We are OK with that, Senate Democrats? We are OK with that? Americans who were cutting down trees legally as part of their job to help their economy, to help their family, who were putting trees in saw mills legally. All the while, she and her buddies--comrades, I call them--were acting illegally, putting these spikes, by the hundreds, in trees.
This was a common technique--tree spiking is what it is called--developed by ecoterrorists in the 1980s and early nineties. Now, Ms. Manning's group, Earth First!, began in the 1980s by disaffected environmentalists who thought their movement wasn't radical enough:
“So how can we get more attention? Let's perpetrate violence against fellow Americans.” That is how they could get more attention. Their slogan was “No compromise in the defense of Mother Earth.” In their view, “no compromise” meant destroying property, putting steel spikes in trees that could kill someone who harvested a tree. And they celebrated and even encouraged such actions. The group even put out a manual detailing tree spiking and instructions on how to do other sabotage activities: cutting down power lines, flattening tires, burning machinery--all directed at those who were trying to legally harvest trees.
David Foreman, the founder of Earth First!, described all these activities as “fun.” “This is where [you] can have fun.”
Let me talk a little bit about “fun.” I have an article from the Washington Post during that time. They were talking about a tree-spiking incident, and I am going to quote from it:
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.
Now, we have some of these saws in these mills in Alaska--not nearly as many as we used to have. They are huge. They are giant. They are the size of people. They spin at incredibly fast speeds with huge teeth. They are dangerous to work with normally. But when you put a steel spike in a tree that is going through a fastly spinning saw, you can imagine the explosion and the violence.
I will continue the article:
It was May 1987, and Alexander was 23 [years old]. His job was to split logs. He was nearly three feet away when the log [he was working on] hit his saw and the [giant] saw exploded. One half of the blade [struck] . . . the log.
It exploded when it hit one of these.
The other half hit Alexander in the [forehead, with the giant saw] tearing through his safety helmet . . . [tearing through his]face shield. His face was slashed from eye to chin. His teeth were smashed and his jaw was cut in half.
Good job, Earth First!--a fellow American, trying to kill a fellow American. These were the kind of activities that Tracy Stone-Manning once conspired in.
I wonder if that disturbs anybody?
I was up at our fish camp on the Yukon River this summer over the Fourth of July clearing some brush, trees, working a chain saw--a smaller chain saw--and I literally was thinking, “Boy, I wonder what would happen if my chain saw hit one of these?”
It wouldn't have been good. So I think if you are not disturbed by this, you really should be.
So I know that some of my colleagues have already read the letter on the floor that she wrote, a profane, anonymous letter from this member of Earth First!, about the 500 pounds of tree spikes--500 pounds--hammered into trees in Idaho.
She rewrote the letter on a rented typewriter because, she later told a reporter, her fingerprints were all over it. So she didn't want to be caught. So, obviously, she knew she was engaging in criminal activity. She didn't just handwrite it; she typed it and then sent it to the FBI. Now, I know some of my colleagues have already read it. I am just going to notice a couple of highlights:
This letter is being sent to notify you that the Post Office Sale in [the great State of] Idaho has been spiked heavily. . . .
The project required that eleven of us spend nine days in God awful weather conditions spiking trees. We unloaded a total of 500 pounds of spikes measuring 8 to 10 inches in length. . . .
Five hundred pounds of these. That is a lot of spikes.
The majority of trees were spiked within the first ten feet, but many, many others were spiked as high as a hundred and fifty feet.
Again, why would they go that high? That is not where you are going to cut it down. So when it goes to the mill, you injure and kill the mill workers.
She goes on further.
Mr. President, I don't know if I am allowed to swear, but you can call me out if I am not supposed to.
P.S. You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt.
That is real nice.
Now, she kept quiet for many years on what she did. She later received immunity for her part in this tree spiking when prosecutors went after other members of Earth First!, and she testified about it. But in her narrative, she has always tried to portray herself as a victim.
She wasn't a victim.
The investigator of this disputes that characterization dramatically. The U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Michael Merkley described her as vulgar, antagonistic, and extremely anti-government. She was uncooperative.
It was also clear that only after she knew she was going to get in trouble that she began to cooperate. “Let me be clear,” Special Agent Merkley said recently, “Ms. Stone-Manning only came forward after her attorney struck the immunity deal, and not before she was caught.”
In testimony to the Senate, she claimed that tree spiking was alleged.
It wasn't alleged.
And that it was never investigated.
That is not true. We know that is not true.
So that was recent.
So it is not just the tree spiking. She hasn't been honest, but she is still clearly a radical.
Let me give you another example. Her husband wrote an article for Harper's Magazine--Senator Risch already talked about this--in 2018, claiming wildfires were a political issue and that such an issue should be solved by letting houses in forests burn.
Think about that.
Perhaps the solution to houses in the interface is to let them burn.
Those are his exact words. Now, look, that is her husband. We can't blame her for her husband's radical views.
But here is what she did. She weighed in herself in 2020--last year--retweeting the article and basically endorsing his views. Here is what she said:
Not a bad time to revisit this piece from my husband, Richard Manning, from two years ago. Clarion call . . . [on climate action].
So think about that.
So I was in charge of our lands in Alaska. We worked--including fighting wildfires--we worked really closely with the Federal Government, the State of Alaska, Federal officials, on fighting our wildfires. We have big wildfires in Alaska, always have had them, always will have them. Never ever, ever, in any time I was involved in issues relating to fighting wildfires, have I heard a State official or Federal official say, “Hey, if there is a fire near a bunch of homes, let them burn.”
But do you see the problem? She is going to be in charge of that in Alaska.
“Let them burn.”
You know what our Federal firefighters do? They save structures. They save houses. They are very heroic.
“Let them burn,” she said last year.
In a nutshell, this is potentially, if we don't stop this vote tonight, the new head of the BLM. She was a member of an ecoterrorist group who had a goal to actually threaten to hurt or actually hurt American citizens, hard-working Americans doing something legal. She has clearly been dishonest recently.
With all due respect to my colleague from Montana, these are not some kind of ad hominem attacks. These are facts.
Last year, she said: Hey, I agree with my husband's article. Let it burn. Let the homes burn in these wildfires.
That is not going to work in my State. She is going to head up an Agency with enormous power over my State and its future.
So, look, we have differences on issues of resource development, energy for America, certainly on issues of jobs. In my State, unfortunately, the Biden administration seems to, weekly, want to shut down resources just in Alaska. I think we are up to almost 20 Executive orders or related actions from this administration focused just on my State--to shut down jobs.
I gave a speech here a while ago asking, not the President of the Senate, the President of the United States: Can you imagine if a Republican administration came in and issued almost, who knows, 10, 15--it is hard to count--Executive orders shutting down Delaware's economy? What would you do, Mr. President, if you were a Senator? You would be furious.
Well, I am furious, and I am furious because we have got another radical who is going to be in charge of my State's future.
“Let it burn.” Tree spikes.
But here we are, unfortunately, about to confirm this individual as the Director of BLM. But here's the thing I want to know. If you are a western Senator--say, Arizona, Nevada, California--good luck going home and explaining this to your constituents. Good luck with that.
I am going to just mention another nominee to speak about briefly. If Tracy Stone-Manning weren't radical enough, I would like to mention another Biden nominee from the far-left socialist fringe. This is Saule Omarova, who was nominated by the President to be Comptroller of the Currency.
So what does the Comptroller of Currency do?
It charters and regulates and supervises all national banks--another very serious position. Not a lot of Americans, you know, highlight this or think about it a lot. It is like BLM, but it is important and powerful. And you would think you would have somebody in that position who would understand or value and respect free markets in our financial system, particularly our banks.
Ms. Omarova doesn't value our system and doesn't seem to much like banks. She has other ideas. According to the Wall Street Journal today, they said that it might even make our colleague Senator Sanders blush.
So who is Ms. Omarova?
First, she is a 1989 graduate in Moscow State University, where she received the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Yeah, you heard me right. I am not talking Moscow, ID. I am talking the real Moscow in the Soviet Union. Let me say that again. A graduate of Moscow State University, where she received the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. You can't make this stuff up.
From her writings, it appears that she still significantly believes in what she learned at old Moscow U, particularly about our free market system and communism and socialism.
Here is what she tweeted in 2019--2019, 3 years ago--2 years ago: Until I came to the U.S., I couldn't imagine things like gender pay gap still existed in today's world. Say what you want about the old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Markets don't always know best.
That is a tweet 2 years ago: Say what you want about the old USSR, about Stalin and Lenin and the roughly 100 million people killed during their reigns. Say what you want about the old USSR, the famine, human degradation, about the ill-fated violent attempts to snuff out the flame of freedom and liberty all across the world. Say what you want about the old USSR, the gulags, pogroms. At least there is no gender gap. There is no food either, by the way; and there is no freedom.
So she is like: Hum, maybe I should clarify this.
So here is her clarification: I never claimed men and women were treated absolutely equal in every facet of the old Soviet Union, but people's salaries were set by the State in a gender-blind manner, and all women got very generous benefits, but those things are still a pipe dream in our American society.
Wow. That was her clarification. Oh, the golden days of the USSR, a mere pipe dream now. Her nostalgia for socialist communist regimes and policies doesn't end with pay disparities. She has advocated for expanding the Federal Reserve's mandate to include draconian controls over financial institutions, wages, and consumer bank deposits.
How would she do this?
Through “a people's ledger, a national investment authority, a public interest council.”
Sounds like a modern-day version of the system set up by the Bolsheviks that I am sure she learned about at Moscow U. Plainly put, she is another radical who will have sweeping powers over the institutions of our United States Government.
So I am going to conclude with this: If you are watching America, I hope you are seeing a theme here. The Biden administration, unfortunately with the help of some of my Senate Democratic colleagues, is trying to make us comfortable with far-left fringe radical appointments who will take over very significant posts in our government and will push us towards the path of socialism. They are pushing a radical left lurch for our country that the vast majority of Americans don't want.
Just look at what my colleagues are coming up with, with their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill written by the chairman of the Budget Committee, an avowed socialist. It is not an insult. That is a fact.
All this is being done with no hearings, no markups; the biggest social spending bill in decades with zero transparency. Even the House had a markup. But the Senate, once known as the most deliberative body in the world, is not having one hearing or one markup on a $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spend bill.
But mainstream middle-class America does not want socialism, and they don't want far-left radicals to run our Federal Government. My Democratic colleagues keep thinking they can ram through this far-left agenda without anyone noticing, but the American people are noticing. The American people are wise, and they are already starting to feel the pain of the Biden administration's far-left, anti-energy, anti-capitalism agenda, especially at the pump.
They will remember which Senators are enabling this, and they will remember the Senators who have no problem voting for nominees who have a record of being part of organizations that sought to perpetrate violence against their fellow Americans.
I hope my Democratic colleagues have a change of heart and vote against Tracy Stone-[Spike]-Manning because our country and my State really don't need her in charge.
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