Obama's Land Management director says Biden nominee should be disqualified over tree spiking plot

Tracy Stone-Manning sent a threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 alleging trees in Idaho had been spiked

President Biden's nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tracy Stone-Manning received a stamp of disapproval from the agency’s director under former Barack Obama over her involvement in a tree spiking plot decades ago.

The first BLM director to serve during the Obama years, Robert Abbey, said during an interview this week with States Newsroom that Stone-Manning’s involvement in the tree-spiking incident should preclude her from assuming the role that he once held.

"BLM needs a really strong leader," Abbey told the outlet. "To put someone in that position that has this type of resume will just bring needless controversy that is not good for the agency or for the public lands."

Tree spiking is when a metal rod is inserted into a tree trunk typically in a manner so that it is concealed from view. It was a tactic used to prevent timber sales as the rod can shatter cutting equipment. It is considered a federal crime.

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As previously reported by Fox News, Stone-Manning was involved in a case where a threatening letter was sent to the U.S. Forest Service in 1989 alleging trees in Idaho had been spiked to prevent their removal. The letter claimed that 500 pounds of spikes measuring up to 10 inches in length had been inserted into the trees.

Stone-Manning later testified against two others who were convicted in the case, claiming she mailed the letter as a request to prevent injury. She was given immunity.

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U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, the ranking Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Friday Stone-Manning should be disqualified for her collaboration with "extreme environmental activists."

"Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists," Barrasso said in a statement. "She worked with extreme environmental activists who spiked trees, threatening the lives and livelihoods of loggers. While she was given immunity from prosecution to testify against her companions in court, her actions were disgraceful."

The vote on her nomination has not been scheduled. It would take every Senate Republican plus at least one Democratic lawmaker to block her nomination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.