Today, 104 conservation and public lands advocacy groups sent a letter urging U.S. Senators to confirm Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to be Director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
In the letter, the groups said it is a pivotal time for the agency. After four rudderless years under the Trump Administration, there is a pressing need “to preserve and enhance the land’s ecological balance as the nation transitions to a net-zero energy future.”
Under President Trump, the U.S. Senate never confirmed a BLM director. Instead, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt installed one of the agency’s greatest critics as acting director, William Perry Pendley.
Pendley, as head of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, was given to suing the BLM and other federal agencies over land use issues, whereas Stone-Manning paints a polar opposite portrait.
The letter of support cites her work as chief of staff for Montana Governor Steve Bullock, director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, senior advisor to U.S. Senator Jon Tester, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Associate Vice President for Public Lands.
The BLM oversees more public land in Nevada than any other federal agency. Along with the Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association, the Nevada Wildlife Federation signed the letter in support of Stone-Manning.
“The Bureau of Land Management oversees 63 percent of Nevada’s public land which is intended for multiple uses including hunting, ranching and energy development. Tracy Stone-Manning has a proven track record as a collaborator who has spent her entire career working with public land stakeholders to ensure that federal land management policies serve all communities,” said Russell Kuhlman, Executive Director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation. “As a Westerner, an avid outdoorswoman, and a former state official, Tracy understands what is needed to guarantee our public lands are available for all stakeholders and future generations.”
Conservation groups from across the nation expressed support for the nominee.
“The West’s iconic public lands need a BLM Director who fights for the outdoor recreation economy and the full range and uses of those lands. As a Montanan, a long-time consensus builder, and a lover of our outdoors, Tracy Stone-Manning is a phenomenal choice to lead the Bureau of Land Management,” said Marne Hayes, director, Business for Montana’s Outdoors. “Countless businesses across Montana and the West are impacted by the decisions made by the BLM, and having someone as qualified as Stone-Manning at the helm is crucial to supporting our outdoor economy and the jobs that depend on healthy, well-managed landscapes. We look forward to working with Stone-Manning as the new BLM Director implementing a solid conservation and public lands agenda, and encourage a swift confirmation by the Senate.”
The letter praises Stone-Manning for her knowledge of land use issues and her administrative chops.
“As Gov. Bullock’s chief of staff, she oversaw day-today operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees, helped broker bi-partisan policy through the state legislature, and helped launch the state’s first Office of Outdoor Recreation. At the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, she managed the department’s staff and led the agency’s work stewarding the state’s water, air, mining, and remediation programs,” the letter reads.
“As a lifelong conservationist, who will prioritize the input of diverse communities and expand opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation, Tracy Stone-Manning will bring balance and forward-thinking management back to an agency that has been adrift for the four years it has been without a Senate-confirmed director,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors). “As an avid sportswoman, she has a profound love of the land and a strong commitment to the communities that depend on those lands for their survival.”
Photo credit: The Bureau of Land Management oversees roughly 48 million acres of Nevada to include Sand Mountain, an area dominated by off highway vehicles or OHVs – photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally