Joe Manchin, Other Dems Defend Tracy Stone-Manning as Biden's Pick for Public Land Manager

Democrats like Joe Manchin are standing beside President Joe Biden's decision to pick Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, the Associated Press reported.

Stone-Manning's credibility was assailed by Republicans who linked her to a 1989 environmental sabotage case. Democrats, however, stood behind Biden's pick. Machin said no evidence had emerged to indicate Stone-Manning commuted any sort of crime.

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington also stood by Stone-Manning, saying that Republicans opposed her for her potential to bring change to the agency.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Dems Support Biden's Pick for Land Manager
Democratic senators like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, supported President Joe Biden's pick for Land Manager, Tracy Stone-Manning, a land conservationist. Manchin talks to reporters as he leaves the Senate Democrats weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"This is over the top opposition," Cantwell said. "What is really on trial here is the future of America's public lands ... oil, gas, coal, mineral extraction."

A U.S. Senate panel deadlocked Thursday on Biden's pick to oversee vast government-owned lands in the West, as Democrats stood united behind the nominee.

The 10-10 tie in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee sets up a floor vote on the nomination of Stone-Manning. It would take every Senate Republican plus at least one Democratic lawmaker to block her confirmation in the evenly divided chamber.

At stake is the leadership of the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees energy production, recreation and other activities across almost a quarter-billion acres of public lands, primarily in the West.

Stone-Manning was a top aide to former Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and most recently worked as a vice president at the National Wildlife Federation. Her advocacy for land preservation contrasts sharply with the land bureau's priorities under former President Donald Trump, who sped up oil and gas drilling approvals and sought to open up new lands to development.

Republican lawmakers have focused on Stone-Manning's links to the 1989 sabotage of a timber sale on Idaho's Clearwater National Forest, calling her an "eco-terrorist" unfit to oversee the land bureau.

Two of Stone-Manning's friends were convicted more than four years later of inserting metal spikes into trees, which makes it dangerous to cut them down She received immunity from prosecutors and testified against them.

"This wasn't a mild offense in which she conspired," said Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee. People are hurt and killed by this kind of behavior."

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday he would call a vote on her nomination before the full Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie for confirmation.

Dems Support Biden's Pick for Land Manager
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and other democrats stood by President Joe Biden's decision in picking Tracy Stone-Manning for Land Manager. Cantwell, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee listens to Martin McNair testifies, at the Senate Commerce Hearing on Capitol Hill on June 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images