President Biden is standing by his decision to nominate Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management despite her involvement in a 1989 tree-spiking plot, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
Calls for Biden to retract his nomination escalated earlier this month after the special agent who investigated the tree-spiking incident alleged in a letter to Congress that Stone-Manning helped to plan the plot and withheld critical information until she received immunity. Separately, John Blount, one of the two men convicted in connection to the plot, told news outlet E&E that Stone-Manning knew about their plan "far in advance."
Republican lawmakers say the revelations disprove Stone-Manning’s claims in testimony to Congress that she was not involved in planning the plot nor targeted in a criminal investigation. During her daily press briefing, Psaki was asked the recent reports had changed Biden’s stance on Stone-Manning’s candidacy.
"It has not. He stands by his nominee and looks forward to her getting confirmed."
The Senate plans to vote on the nomination Thursday.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and all Republican members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have called on Biden to withdraw the nomination. As BLM director, Stone-Manning would oversee Stone-Manning the agency responsible for 245 million acres of public land.
Scrutiny of Stone-Manning stems from her ties to environmental activists who placed spikes in trees in a bid to sabotage a timber sale in Boise, Idaho in 1989. Stone-Manning later testified against two plotters who were convicted.
Tree-spiking is a tactic in which metal spikes or rods are placed in tree trunks to prevent them from being cut down. It is a federal crime and Republicans have likened the plot to an instance of "eco-terrorism."
Stone-Manning admitted to sending a threatening letter to federal officials in 1989 warning that trees were spiked in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest. She testified that she sent the letter at the behest of the plotters and was attempting to prevent injuries.