A pro-energy group launched ads Thursday in West Virginia urging Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III to vote against Bureau of Land Management nominee Tracy Stone-Manning over her involvement in a 1989 tree-spiking plot.
Power the Future’s six-figure ad buy focused on her decision as a graduate student to retype and mail an anonymous letter to authorities warning of spiked trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest on behalf of the perpetrators.
Mr. Manchin voted last week in committee to approve her nomination, calling her a “youthful sympathizer for the environment,” while the ad accused him of backing “a Biden nominee with a history with eco-terrorists.”
“Joe Manchin claims he is the most independent, bipartisan member of Congress,’” says the 30-second ad. “But he’s supporting a Biden nominee with a history with eco-terrorists. Tracy Stone-Manning colluded with a group engaged in tree spiking, a terrorist tactic that maims and even kills unlucky workers. If that doesn’t disqualify someone from running federal lands, what does?”
Mr. Manchin also voted Tuesday to discharge her nomination to the full Senate after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee split 10-10 along party lines on her bid to head the agency.
Daniel Turner, Power the Future founder and executive director, said Mr. Manchin is “poised to cast the deciding vote for a terrorist as the next head of an agency with a jurisdiction over 245 million acres of American land.”
“Tracy Stone-Manning worked hand-in-glove with a group of extremists willing to murder innocent people to get their way,” Mr. Turner said in a statement. “If Senator Manchin decides to approve an eco-terrorist, the people of West Virginia and the rest of the country won’t soon forget it.”
Ms. Stone-Manning, who was active in the radical environmental group Earth First!, struck an immunity deal with federal prosecutors to testify in 1993 against the suspects, who were ultimately convicted.
She has said she agreed to mail the letter to protect forestry workers from accidentally hitting one of the tree spikes, while the now-retired lead Forest Service investigator on the case said she was uncooperative and only agreed to testify to avoid prosecution.
Republicans have blasted her nomination to lead the agency, but the Senate is expected to confirm Ms. Stone-Manning on a 50-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker, unless at least one Democrat switches sides.
The White House has stood behind the nominee, praising her as “a dedicated public servant who has years of experience and a proven track record of finding solutions and common ground when it comes to our public lands and waters.”