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She Was the BLM Director’s Harshest Critic. Now, She May Be His Replacement.

Career conservationist Tracy Stone-Manning will be nominated as the next director of the Bureau of Land Management.

As a leader of the National Wildlife Federation, Tracy Stone-Manning was one of the harshest critics of the Bureau of Land Management’s Acting Director William Perry Pendley, publicly slamming him on everything from his support for the Bundy’s armed takeover of the Bureau’s land to his opposition to public stream access.

Now, she may become his replacement.

President Biden will nominate Stone-Manning to become the next director of the Bureau of Land Management, Washington-based news service Politico Pro reported yesterday. If confirmed, she would become responsible for roughly 12% of the landmass of the United States, including national monuments like Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Canyon of the Ancients.

The contrast between Pendley and Stone-Manning could not be starker. Pendley, a lawyer and president of the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation, sued the government to weaken the Endangered Species Act and called climate change “junk science, not real science.” As acting director of the BLM (he was never confirmed by the Senate), he expanded drilling on public lands.

Stone-Manning, a former aide to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and chief of staff for Montana Governor Steve Bullock, also headed up the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and spearheaded dam removal and river cleanup as the director of the Clark Fork Coalition in Missoula. Now the National Wildlife Federation’s senior adviser for conservation policy, Stone-Manning was a vocal opponent of Pendley during his time in office. In an op-ed she co-authored for the Great Falls Tribune with two other conservationists, Stone-Manning bid “good riddance” to the acting director after a federal court ruled last year that he had been serving illegally.

“Someone who has advocated for selling off public lands, tried to overturn Montana’s stream access law, defended a company that wants to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine, and supported Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff against BLM law enforcement—as Pendley has—should never have been allowed inside BLM’s doors,” the piece read.

Conservation groups enthusiastically greeted Stone-Manning’s upcoming nomination. In a statement, the Center for Western Priorities’ Executive Director Jennifer Rokala celebrated the news.

“Tracy Stone-Manning has the vision and experience to lead the Bureau of Land Management through one of its most pressing times, Rokala said. “Over the last four years, political leaders gutted the Bureau of Land Management headquarters and turned the agency into a rubber stamp for drilling and mining permits.The damage wrought by the Trump administration on an agency which manages one-tenth of the land area in the United States is almost incalculable.”