Calls for Biden to withdraw Land Management pick over alleged ties to eco-terrorists

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Biden to withdraw his nomination to head the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning, over alleged involvement in an eco-terrorist plot. 

“We now know that President Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Land Management lied to the Senate about her alleged participation in eco-terrorism,” McConnell said in a statement. “The White House should immediately withdraw her nomination.”

The Kentucky Republican’s calls to revoke her nomination come in the wake of reports Stone-Manning, who previously served as Montana’s top environmental regulator, allegedly had ties to a “tree-spiking” operation intended to derail logging efforts in the 1980s.

The news was first reported by Fox News. 

McConnell’s remarks echo those of Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who recently sent a letter to Biden calling on him to rethink his nomination, accusing Stone-Manning of making “false and misleading statements in a sworn statement” to the panel. 

The GOP senators noted that Stone-Manning said in a questionnaire that she had never been the target of a federal, state or local criminal investigation during the confirmation process. 

Former U.S. Forest Service investigator Michael Merkley, who was involved with the probe into the tree-spiking case, disputed Stone-Manning’s account, alleging she helped plan the 1989 spiking incident while involved with the environmental group Earth First while she was in graduate school.

According to Merkley, she later testified against those involved in the plot in 1993 and was granted legal immunity for testifying that she retyped and sent an anonymous letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of her former roommate saying that 500 pounds of spikes had been jammed into trees in Idaho. 

“She was aware that she was being investigated in 1989 and again in 1993 when she agreed to the immunity deal with the government to avoid criminal felony prosecution,” he said in a letter sent to the panel, adding that “Stone-Manning was not an innocent bystander nor was she a victim in the case.”

“Let me be clear. Ms. Stone-Manning only came forward after her attorney struck the immunity deal, and not before she was caught,” Merkley wrote in a letter to the committee. 

“At no time did she come forward of her own volition, and she was never entirely forthcoming,” he wrote.

Despite GOP concerns, the Biden administration has stood by its nominee. 

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