Sullivan Criticizes Senate Democrats for Green-Lighting Extremist to Lead Bureau of Land Management
“A lying ecoterrorist…is now going to have one of the most important positions of power in America over [Alaskans].”
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate yesterday voted narrowly, 50 to 49, to proceed to consideration of the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to serve as director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with all Senate Democrats voting for the motion. Before the vote, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who voted against the motion, spoke on the Senate floor and urged his Democratic colleagues not to allow Stone-Manning’s nomination to move forward given 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.
On June 21, Sen. Sullivan called on President Biden to withdraw Stone-Manning’s nomination, the first time the senator has called for the withdrawal of a nominee before they’ve been advanced by the committee of jurisdiction.
Madam President, I want to thank my colleague, Senator Barrasso, for leading the effort to do what is the obvious thing to do on the U.S. Senate floor. Here, in a couple minutes, we are going to vote on one of the most extreme nominees I have ever seen to be nominated for anything requiring the confirmation of the U.S. Senate.
To be honest, I can't believe we are even really having this debate. I can't believe that the Senate is going to put forward and vote on an ecoterrorist. I can't believe the President of the United States, after maybe not recognizing who he put forward, didn't withdraw the nomination. And yet here we are.
We know this administration supports far-left groups and certainly has nominated some far-left nominees for Senate confirmation to important positions in the Federal Government. But what hasn't happened yet is--they have knowingly put forward a far-left nominee who has clearly lied to the Senate, as Senator Barrasso just showed clearly, who is not just a far-left extremist, she is a violent extremist.
So, normally, you would think in America that would disqualify you from a position that requires Senate confirmation--a position, by the way, that is one of the most important positions to my State, the great State of Alaska.
And yet here we are. Here we are. We are going to vote for her. And it looks like all my Senate Democrat colleagues are going to vote aye. Shocking. I hope America is watching because this is a bigger vote than just for the BLM Director. This is a symbol of how crazy and far left this administration has gone and, to be honest, how fearful some of my colleagues are of that.
So I was here on the Senate floor a little over 1 month ago, and I called on the President to withdraw his nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning. It was the first time in my Senate career I have called on a nominee to be withdrawn before they had gone through their vote out of committee. I have never done that before.
Usually, the President certainly gets to put forward who he or she wants for positions to fill out his Cabinet and his Federal Government. That is normal.
I have never done this before, but I have a reason, just like Senator Barrasso has been coming down on the Senate floor to talk about this, to actually call for this withdrawal, because we have not confronted someone with Tracy Stone-Manning's past, which involves being a member of part of an extreme, radical, violent group that performed violent acts in the name of getting attention, a violent group engaging in overt ecoterrorism.
Her past association with ecoterrorism is so heinous that even the Director of BLM from the Obama-Biden administration said that her actions should preclude her from consideration, and her nomination should be withdrawn by the President.
You would think that would have been it. The last Democrat nominee for that job said she wasn't qualified because of her ecoterrorism past. That was Mr. Bob Abbey.
I want to talk about BLM for a minute and why I am on the floor again talking about this issue. This is an incredibly important and powerful Federal agency, particularly as it relates to my State.
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 completely, but I believe they manage more acreage in Alaska than they do in the rest of the lower 48 combined. That is how important this is.
Let me give you some of the numbers. This includes over 70 million surface acres of land and 220 million subsurface acres of land in Alaska. That is the land equivalent to about one-fifth of the entire lower 48 States. Most States can't even comprehend that size. That is why this is such an important nominee.
This, of course, is a huge amount of land, and it is a huge amount of power over my constituents for access to land for our economy, for our environment, for our Native culture. It is imperative the Director of this Agency--and I am not going to always agree with the Director of this Agency--but the Director of the BLM, with so much power and so much control over Alaska and its future and our working families, be someone who is, at minimum, trustworthy, honest, fair-minded, beyond reproach, and certainly--certainly--not involved with an organization whose mission was to perpetuate violence against their fellow Americans.
Is that so hard a standard?
This nominee is none of these things. As Senator Barrasso so ably has presented, and as I mentioned, she was once a member of an ecoterrorist organization.
Now, maybe she can go work for President Biden in some other position, but to get Senate-confirmed, given what she has done, and have U.S. Senators look the other way--it is OK. She was part of a group that was perpetuating acts of violence against their fellow Americans to get attention, and we are OK with that? U.S. Senators are OK with that? My goodness, this is a low bar.
Tracy Stone-Manning was a member of Earth First!--a radical, far-left group who has engaged repeatedly in what is defined as ecoterrorism. She wasn't just a member of Earth First!; she was complicit, as Senator Barrasso just mentioned, putting big metal spikes, thick ones, in trees that were meant to either threaten to hurt or actually gravely injure Americans, working families who were harvesting trees in our country legally and who were putting trees in sawmills legally. This was a common technique—tree spiking, as it was called--deployed by such ecoterrorist groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it is extremely dangerous.
Let me briefly talk about the group Tracy Stone-Manning was a member of. Again, we know that this administration is putting forth far-left nominees with affiliations with certain groups but not violent groups. That should be a redline that every Senator agrees with.
Earth First! began in 1980 by disaffected environmentalists who thought the movement wasn't radical enough. They thought the environmental movement in America wasn't getting enough attention, so they thought, hmm, let's get more attention by perpetrating violence and destruction.
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 they even celebrated and encouraged such actions. The group put out a manual--yes, a manual--on their ecoterrorist tactics detailing tree spiking and instructions on how to cause other sabotage: Cut down power lines. Flatten tires of vehicles for timber harvesters. Burn machinery. Again, these are all American citizens who were trying to do something legally.
We harvest trees legally in Alaska. We have loggers who have been doing this for generations from hard-working American families. So many other States in this Senate--represented here in the Senate. I certainly hope a Senator from one of those States is not going to vote yes in a couple of minutes here on this vote.
David Foreman was the founder of Earth First! He talked about these activities, and he said: “This is where the ecoteur can have fun.” That is a quote from the founder of Earth First! This is what he called fun.
This is how an article in the Washington Post from this time described such an incident of tree spiking that severely hurt one of our fellow American citizens, and 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.
Now, we have these saws and these mills in Alaska. These saws are huge, the size of people. They spin at incredibly fast speeds with huge teeth. They are dangerous to work on normally, but when you think about hitting a tree going through a mill with a spike in it, you can imagine, it is an explosion.
Let me continue this article:
It was May 1987, and [George] 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 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.
Good job, Earth First! Good job trying to kill a fellow American. This is what Earth First! did.
I was up on the Yukon River over the Fourth of July at our fish camp cleaning brush, trees, working a chain saw, and I honestly was thinking about this. I was thinking, man, I have this saw, a little saw, not one of these huge things. Think about if you hit a spike
But these were the kind of tactics that Tracy Stone-Manning, the Biden administration's choice to lead the BLM, once conspired in. Does that disturb you, America? Does that disturb you, national media? Does that disturb you, my fellow Senators? It sure the heck disturbs me. Every U.S. Senator on the floor here should be very, very disturbed about this.
So what did she specifically do? Again, Senator Barrasso has highlighted this. She hasn't been truthful to the Senate, by the way. That is a crime in and of itself. Here is what she did. In 1989, she did a fellow friend, an Earth First! friend--really a comrade; it is more of a socialist Communist organization--a fellow comrade a favor. She rewrote word-for-word a profane, anonymous letter--you saw it here from Senator Barrasso a couple of minutes ago--from this Earth First! member about the 500 pounds of tree spikes that they had hammered into trees in an Idaho forest--by Earth First!, 500 pounds. That is a lot.
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 get caught. So she knew she was obviously doing something criminal. She didn't just handwrite it; she typed it and then sent the letter to the FBI. And you saw it is a very disturbing, profane letter where she threatens people who are going to get hurt. So she is all in. She is all in.
She kept quiet on this for years, and that was 1989, until she came forward in 1993, received immunity, obviously had been investigated--lied about that--for her part in this tree spiking in Idaho.
She has since then portrayed herself as a victim. But a former criminal investigator for USDA Forest Service--again, Senator Barrasso laid this out--wrote a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and here is what he said:
Ms. Stone-Manning was not an innocent bystander, nor was she a victim in this case. . . . Ms. Stone-Manning was not only a member of Earth First!, but she played an active role in the Earth First! hierarchy.
He described her as vulgar, antagonistic, and extremely anti-government. He said she was uncooperative and refused to provide hair, handwriting samples, and fingerprints as ordered by the Federal grand jury. Come on, U.S. Senate, really? You are going to confirm her?
It was only after she knew that she might get in trouble that she began to cooperate. “Let me be clear,” Special Agent Michael Merkley wrote very recently. “Ms. Stone-Manning only came forward after her attorney struck the immunity deal, and not before she was caught.”
In testimony submitted to the Senate, she claimed that the tree spiking was “alleged” but never investigated. That is untrue. None of this is true.
But here is what is true: She was a member of an ecoterrorist group who had as its goal to threaten or actually hurt Americans. Americans were hurt by this, hard-working Americans doing something legally. She is clearly dishonest, and she has no business heading up the BLM, a federal agency with enormous power, especially over my state.
So this is a really important issue for me, which is why I have been on the floor talking about it. As I said, the President should have withdrawn her nomination, and I certainly hope my Senate colleagues will not vote to confirm her. I don't think any Republican is going to. But any of my fellow Democrats who live in places where men and women harvest logs, hard-working American families, it is going to be really interesting to see how you write those families after you vote yes, if you do.
So I hope we defeat her vote here today, but I think there is something else to talk about. As I mentioned, it is one thing to put forward far-left individuals for these Senate-confirmed jobs. It is quite another to put forward someone who is far left and violent, with a record of trying to hurt your fellow Americans.
I think this is a symbol. We know the Biden administration has a lot of allies in some of these groups, but the fact that the President of the United States, with all this evidence that has come out--maybe they overlooked it, but now it is all out--lying, violence. He is still standing behind her, and it looks like all my colleagues are going to vote for her. This is a travesty.
I hope all Americans watching ask the proper question. Dishonest, lying ecoterrorist took action to hurt people, who is now going to have one of the most important positions of power in America over my constituents. We need to do better here, folks. If she passes, this is going to show just how far left the Biden administration is.
Again, I try to be bipartisan here. I have a lot of friends on both sides of the aisle. But how compliant or scared my Senate Democratic colleagues are of these radical groups.
Do the right thing, vote no on this nominee, and get the President to put forward someone else without a violent past who has been honest. We might disagree with them. But to my Senate Democratic colleagues today, do the right thing. You know what the right thing is. Do the right thing. Vote to reject this very radical, unqualified, dishonest nominee.
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