April 21, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Senate confirms Tracy Stone-Manning to lead BLM

6 min read
Tracy Stone-Manning was confirmed as director of the Bureau of Land Management. (Photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation.)

Tracy Stone-Manning was confirmed as director of the Bureau of Land Management. (Photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation.)

The U.S. Senate confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Sept. 30.

“I am grateful for the Senate’s vote of confidence today and look forward to bringing decades of experience — working on the ground and across the aisle— to carry out the critical mission of the Bureau of Land Management,” she said. “Our public lands are one of America’s finest ideas, and I am ready to get to work alongside a remarkable team to ensure future generations benefit from them like we have.”

Environmental groups praised the confirmation. The Wilderness Society press release noted that her confirmation “ends a four-year absence of a Senate-confirmed BLM director and does so at a time when healthy public lands are more vital to helping fight climate change than ever before.”

Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams said, “Tracy Stone-Manning will be an exceptional leader of the Bureau of Land Management, bringing her decades of proven experience as a consensus builder and honest broker to ensure that public lands are managed to benefit everyone, not just a powerful few.

“As we witness climate change-fueled extreme weather happening with more intensity than ever before across the west, we are long overdue for a leader of Stone-Manning’s caliber who will ensure public lands are central to confronting the climate crisis.”

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The National Wildlife Federation also applauded her confirmation.

“After nearly five years without a Senate-confirmed leader at the helm of the Bureau and at a time when our public lands are suffering from prolonged drought, devastating wildfires, and other climate-fueled disasters, Tracy will bring visionary leadership and a collaborative management style that will restore and revitalize our public lands and waters,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO. “Tracy has uncommon common sense and an exceptional ability to bring people together to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. Today’s confirmation vote is indeed very good news for our wildlife and public lands – and all who depend on them.”

“As an avid outdoorswoman, hunter, and hiker, Tracy Stone-Manning understands the values that define communities connected to nature,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors). “As a lifelong conservationist who has a proven track record in reaching collaborative solutions and brought groups together to solve issues facing our nation’s public lands, we’re eager to expand opportunities for the input of diverse communities under her leadership at the Bureau of Land Management.”

Stone-Manning has been a senior advisor for public lands and conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation since 2017.

Five GOP senators did not vote, allowing the nomination to proceed without requiring Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tiebreaking vote. According to Roll Call, the five senators were Blackburn (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Moran (R-KS), Paul (R-KY), and Tuberville (R-AL).

Tracy made the following statement during her Senate confirmation hearing on June 8.

“I’m honored to come before you as President Biden’s nominee to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management.

“I thank the president for the nomination. I thank this committee for its consideration of it. I’m grateful to my state’s senior senator and former boss, Senator Tester, for the kind introduction.

“I am joined today by my husband of 30 years, Richard Manning. I’m certain I would not be here without him. With me also in spirit are my parents: my father, a submarine commander who is buried across the river in Arlington National Cemetery, and my mother, who raised five kids and died just last summer. They instilled in me the core belief that service to our nation and its people is our highest calling. That has guided my every step and placed me in this seat before you today.

“Public service – serving in government – is serving the people, and if done well, it’s serving the future.

“My first professional job was running a land trust in Missoula, Montana. I sat around kitchen tables, discussing private financial and family matters. That’s where I learned that land and people are inextricably tied.

“I later directed an organization working to clean up one of the country’s largest superfund sites. We gathered people from all camps —- Republicans and Democrats, Rotarians, trade unionist and environmentalists —- to work for the removal of an ailing dam and the toxic sediments behind it. Our success created thousands of jobs. We started to understand the power and promise of a restoration economy and saw how restoring the landscape restores community.

“Senator Tester asked me to join his new Senate staff shortly after, to bring people together around tough issues. On day one, his chief of staff said to all of us: ‘The election is over. The Senator wants to be clear. We work for all Montanans, not just the ones who voted for us.’

“And so we did, solving problems regardless of party, finding solutions right for the land and the people who inhabit it. That’s how we forged partnerships with loggers. That’s how we broke the decades old wilderness stalemate. By listening. By working together.

“I took that spirit with me when Governor Bullock asked me to serve as the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, safeguarding our clean air and water. The job required listening, gathering facts and being decisive – not jumping to conclusions. It required trusting career staffers with decades of experience and getting them tools they needed to do their jobs.

“Then the governor asked me to be his chief of staff. Montana had about 11,000 state employees, roughly the same as the Bureau of Land Management. It was a fast-paced, all-in job that required listening, calm, and the ability to gather facts and act on them. I loved it.

“Governor Bullock, like my boss before him, was unequivocal about the need to work with all parties to get things done. That’s how, for example, we got healthcare for 90,000 Montanans through the legislature, and how we achieved a water compact for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes that this body passed last November with leadership from Senators Daines and Tester.

“All along, my professional life has been informed by a private passion for hiking, floating, hunting, and backpacking. The power I am granted by the mountains and rivers I love is ineffable but real. This rare privilege has left me fiercely committed to ensure everyone, and future generations, shares the same opportunity.

“That’s why I have spent the last four years at the National Wildlife Federation, advocating for the balanced use of our public lands and Congressional investment in them.

“I think every step of my career has prepared me for this role.

“The Bureau of Land Management is tasked with the daunting mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of our public lands. The Bureau manages these lands for multiple uses and multiple values – for present and future generations.

“Those uses range from energy development to recreation, from grazing and timber to scientific and cultural resources, and from critical minerals mining to wildlife habitat.

“There is a lot of work to do. President Biden has called on the country to build the equitable, clean energy economy of tomorrow. He has called on us to conserve and restore lands to address the crises of biodiversity and climate change. He has been clear about the need to engage everyone, not just the privileged or special interests, and to ensure nature is accessible to all of us.

“The BLM manages roughly 1 in 10 acres in this country. It can and must help us rise to this historic moment.

“If confirmed, I will listen, and I will seek to work with all, regardless of party. That’s how we find durable solutions. By working together.”

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