Tracy Stone-Manning was born on September 18, 1965. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Maryland in 1987, and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in 1992. Since 1990, Stone-Manning has been married to the radical environmentalist Richard Manning.
During her years as a graduate student in the late 1980s, Stone-Manning was involved with “ecoterrorism” and its related tactics such as tree spiking, an illegal practice by which environmental extremists seek to prevent the logging of trees by driving long metal or ceramic spikes into them. Officially outlawed by the federal government since 1988, tree spiking can be extremely harmful or even deadly to loggers.
When she was 23 years old, Stone-Manning sent an anonymous letter to the U.S. Forest Service warning of metal spikes that she and her comrades had recently driven into a large number of trees at Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest. The letter said, in part: “This letter is being sent to notify you that the [forest] has been spiked heavily. The reasoning for this action is that this piece of land is very special to the earth. It is home to the Elk, Deer, Mountain Lions, Birds, and especially the Trees. The project required that eleven of us spend nine days in God awful weather conditions spiking trees. We unloaded a total of 500 pounds of spikes measuring 8 to 10 inches in length…. You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt.”
In 1993, two friends of Stone-Manning were convicted for their involvement in the Idaho tree-spiking incident. Stone-Manning, however, was given immunity and testified against the pair. Although she was subpoenaed to provide hair and fingerprint samples to a grand jury shortly after the initial tree spiking, Stone-Manning denies that she has ever been criminally investigated for the matter. She also maintains that she was never even involved in it, claiming that she only sent the letter to the Forest Service because she “didn’t want anyone getting hurt.” But her claim is contradicted by another letter, released by Republican Senator John Barrasso in July 2021, in which retired investigator Michael Merkley alleges that Stone-Manning, prior to receiving her immunity deal, was sent a “target letter” informing her that she was going to be indicted. Stone-Manning’s claim is further contradicted by the fact that she herself was quoted in a 1990 news article condemning the “degrading” treatment she had received from FBI agents during their investigation.
Stone-Manning was also a member – from at least 1989-1991 — of the radical environmentalist organization Earth First! (EF). She edited a 1991 issue of an EF journal (titled Earth First!) which mocked federal authorities for having been unable to yet solve the 1989 tree-spiking case. That same issue of the EF journal, which proudly declared the organization’s position that “We do not accept the authority of the hierarchical state,” also featured articles stating variously that: (a) “the way to put an end to institutional war is to eliminate institutions”; (b) “the population problem” could be solved by using loaded guns for “target practice” against members of “corporate America”; and (c) an effective way to close down a Forest Service road is to “go out with a bunch of your friends and pull branches and slash [debris] across a road for as long a distance as you can … [and] roll some boulders across, dig holes, and generally make it impassable.”
According to Michael Merkley, Stone-Manning “was not only a member of Earth First!, but she played an active role in Earth First! hierarchy” and “wielded significant influence among its members.” Merkley also said that Stone-Manning “was not an innocent bystander” in the 1989 tree-spiking crime, and that she had refused to cooperate with, or testify truthfully to, the grand jury investigation regarding her role in that crime. Merkley described the woman as “extremely difficult to work with; in fact, she was the nastiest of the suspects. She was vulgar, antagonistic, and extremely anti-government.”
In her 1992 master’s thesis, Stone-Manning advocated for population control, in part, by creating eight separate advertisements underscoring the collective threat that “overpopulation,” overgrazing, and the corporate timber industry posed to the environment. “The origin of our abuses is us,” she wrote. “If there were fewer of us, we would have less impact…. We must consume less, and more importantly, we must breed fewer consuming humans.”
“The point is a simple one,” Stone-Manning wrote in her thesis. “Harshly, the ads say that the earth can’t afford Americans. More softly, they ask people to think about how their family planning choices affect the planet.”
Following her graduation from the University of Montana in 1992, Stone-Manning worked for a Montana-based environmental protection organization called the Five Valleys Land Trust. From 1994-1998, her primary duties were as a media consultant and freelance writer.
From 1998-1999, Stone-Manning was an editor for a publication called Headwater News.
In 1999, Stone-Manning joined another Montana environmental group called the Clark Fork Coalition, where she would serve a stint as its Executive Director prior to her departure in 2007.
Stone-Manning then worked as a Regional Director for Montana’s Democratic U.S. Senator, Raymond “Jon” Tester, from 2007-2012. At one point, she was Tester’s acting State Staff Director and Senior Advisor.
Following her nomination by Montana’s Democratic Governor, Steve Bullock, Stone-Manning served as Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality from 2013-2014. She then worked as the governor’s Chief of Staff from 2014-2017.
In 2017, Stone-Manning became the Associate Vice President for Public Lands at the National Wildlife Federation. She went on to serve as NWF’s Senior Advisor for Conservation Policy before leaving the organization in 2021.
In June 2020, Stone-Manning requested that the University of Montana restrict online access to her aforementioned 1992 master’s thesis. The very next day, the university web page where the thesis had long been accessible to the public, was made “only available to users affiliated with the University of Montana.”
Speaking on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources in March 2021, Stone-Manning testified that “our public lands are in trouble,” and she advocated for a number of reforms, particularly in the form of limits to oil and gas exploration and production. Describing former President Trump’s “so-called energy dominance agenda” as problematic, she noted that the Trump “Administration’s approach to managing our public lands has highlighted the importance of these reforms.” Consistent with that view, Stone-Manning called for the Joe Biden Administration to place a “temporary pause” on its approval of new leases for oil and gas drilling – describing this as a “modest and reasonable approach [designed] to assess reforms to the oil and gas program specifically and in the context of the competing needs of our public lands.” In hope of being able to “restore balanced management to our public lands and to drive down carbon emissions from them,” Stone-Manning urged Congress to pass several specific pieces of legislation, about which she said the following:
Stone-Manning claimed that such “common-sense reforms would go a long way to ensuring [that] the oil and gas program catches up to the 21st Century.”
On April 22, 2021, President Biden nominated Stone-Manning for the position of Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a federal agency within the Department of the Interior that is responsible for administering nearly 250 million acres of federal land and plays a key role in regulating energy production on public lands.
Stone-Manning’s nomination came under scrutiny when reports surfaced about her aforementioned involvement with ecoterrorism and radicalism in the late 1980s. But on September 30, 2021, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 50-45 party-line vote. She assumed the office of BLM Director on October 7, 2021.
Biden’s Ecoterrorist Nominee Edited “Earth First” Journal Mocking Federal Authorities for Crime She Helped Carry Out
By Ashley Oliver
July 27, 2021