Sen. Risch tears into Stone-Manning amid tied committee vote

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Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, tore into President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) amid the tied committee vote to advance her nomination.

Risch blasted Biden’s BLM nominee Tracy Stone-Manning during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s consideration of her nomination. Her ties to an Earth First! tree-spiking plot in Risch’s home state have become the centerpiece of the opposition to her nomination.

Noting his decade-long experience on the committee, Risch eviscerated Stone-Manning’s nomination as "the most significant act of an insult to a really good agency and the people in that agency that I’ve ever seen perpetrated by this committee."

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"I don’t know how this nomination has got this far, but I think that we ought to spend some time looking at that," Risch said.

Risch then spoke about Stone-Manning’s ties to a tree-spiking ecoterrorist plot, producing a tree spike as an example for the committee and noting what happens when a logger’s saw hits one of said spikes.

"What happens when the saw hits this spike is what happens in a war when a hand grenade goes off. Shrapnel goes every direction," the Idaho Republican said. "It destroys the saw, be it a band saw or a circular saw, and it will break the spike into shrapnel."

The senator noted that the shrapnel launched from the broken saw and shattered spike "will either kill or injure anyone who is within range."

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"So, why do you put this in a tree? You put this in a tree to kill somebody," Risch asked his fellow committee members. "It’s not put in there for fun. It’s not a Sunday school prank. You put this in a tree to kill somebody."

Risch noted that tree-spiking "didn’t exist" while he was studying forestry, only coming around when ecoterrorism in the U.S. "hit its peak," and lambasted his congressional colleagues who referred to Stone-Manning’s involvement in the tree-spiking plot as a "mistake."

"A mistake is when you reach in your sock drawer and you take out two socks that don’t match," he continued. "This is an intentional act for which people are sent to prison and should be."

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Risch noted that spikes in trees can be forgotten about and threaten future lives before reading the profanity-laced letter Stone-Manning admitted to sending to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of her former roommate and friend, John Blount, about the spiking.

The senator said Stone-Manning was "deeply involved" in the plot and called her nomination "a stain" on the Biden administration that would last throughout the president’s tenure.

"If the Biden administration wants to have the face and the character of their administration represented by this individual, this attempted murderer, this perjurer, this liar, this conspirator, if that’s what you want in the administration, and that’s what you want for the face of the administration, here’s your person," the senator concluded. "Confirm her."

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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., joined Risch in lambasting Stone-Manning in the hearing for her tree-spiking ties.

"Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with ecoterrorists, she lied to this committee, and she continues to harbor extremist views most Americans find reprehensible," Barrasso said.

"She is thoroughly disqualified from holding the important position of director of the Bureau of Land Management," he added.

Stone-Manning’s nomination vote tied 10-10 in committee, meaning that the full Senate will have to vote to discharge Biden’s nominee from the committee before actually voting on her nomination.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the swing vote to watch in Stone-Manning’s nomination, but the senator recently announced his support for Biden’s nominee.

The nomination may not be as well received in Manchin’s state of West Virginia, with a spokesperson from Meadow River Hardwood Lumber Co. telling Fox News on Thursday that their company "does not support Ms. Stone-Manning as an appropriate choice to oversee the forests of America."

When asked whether or not the White House believed Stone-Manning’s nomination would be discharged to the full Senate, a spokesperson for the White House pointed to their previous statement in support of Stone-Manning.

"Tracy Stone-Manning is 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," a White House official previously told Fox News. "She is exceptionally qualified to be the next director of the Bureau of Land Management."

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