Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley on Thursday confronted Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director Tracy Stone-Manning over allegedly lying about her reported involvement with potentially deadly eco-terrorism.

Stone-Manning was an editor for an issue of Earth First journal that contained a non-bylined story boasting that federal investigators were “bungling” their investigation into an eco-terrorism incident with which she was directly involved, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in 2021 when President Joe Biden nominated her to the position she now holds. Hawley during an oversight hearing on BLM accused Stone-Manning of lying to the Senate Energy Committee about facing an investigation regarding the incident, which he called “terrorism” that can lead to death.

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“I understand why this committee jumped over 30 years of my career in considering my nomination and went to a salacious moment from graduate school where I tried to protect people,” Stone-Manning said. “What I don’t understand is why we’re not looking at the last three and a half years now.”

“Here’s why,” Hawley responded. “Because people are killed in these kind of incidents. It is an act of terrorism. A special agent in charge found that you were involved. You lied to this committee and said you were never investigated, were never the target of an investigation. In fact, you were. You lied to us blatantly. And you know it.”

Stone-Manning, was one of six members of the editorial group for the June 21, 1991, edition of the environmental journal. One story in the 40-page issue that did not contain an author byline was a piece celebrating the Forest Service’s  deactivation of their probe into the 1989 Clearwater National Forest tree spiking incident.

Tree spiking is a known “eco-terrorism” tactic that makes trees unsafe for workers to log.

Stone-Manning in 1993 received legal immunity to testify at a 1993 trial that she sent an anonymous letter to the Forest Service in 1989 warning that the Clearwater forest had been sabotaged with tree spikes. She did acknowledge her role in the incident until she received immunity.

“I did not have any published writings in that issue or any other tissue[sic],” Stone-Manning previously asserted to the committee.

Stone-Manning during the hearing also asserted BLM had no time to advise Alaska about multiple restrictions on energy and mining projects which drew criticism from Native American groups in the state. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Stone-Manning that the restrictions, such as a reversal of the Ambler Access Project, which would have made a copper mine viable, felt “like an onslaught.”

“My conversation with the commissioner last week was about how we’re up against some timing issues and some workload issues throughout the department,” Stone-Manning said, adding, “Our plates are full and that we’re not moving forward with the EA in the timeline that we had originally.”

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