Last week, Cache County Council inserted itself into the epicenter of D.C. politics by considering a resolution that condemns Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management. Unfortunately, it did so without taking time to look at the facts and realize that the Council had been duped by a partisan smear campaign.
The Bureau of Land Management stewards more than 245 million acres nationwide, and nearly 23 million acres here in Utah. These lands are under tremendous threat right now from drought, invasive species, and climate change. Add to that, the agency has been without a Senate-confirmed leader for the past four years, during which a misguided move out West resulted in the loss of 87% of the agency’s leadership staff. President Biden’s decision to nominate Tracy-Stone Manning means that the agency will have a strong, collaborative leader at the helm who has 30 years of experience stewarding public lands and waters.
As a Westerner, hunter, and avid outdoorswoman, Stone-Manning has a deep love for public lands and the people who make their livelihoods on them. She began her career forging together a diverse coalition of stakeholders to remove a dam, cleanup a river, and create thousands of jobs in the process. She continued that bipartisan work in Sen. Jon Tester’s office when she brought together timber interests and snowmobilers to develop a land management plan that all could agree upon. She led the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, overseeing the state’s water, air, mining and remediation programs. She also worked for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, helping to create the state’s first Office of Outdoor Recreation. For the past four years, she has been a policy advisor at the National Wildlife Federation where she led the bipartisan campaign for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Through her work in government and with non-profits, she has a proven record of coalition building that has united opposing groups regarding key public lands issues.
Those are the facts that the Cache County Council chose to ignore. Instead of looking at a 30-year career of public lands success stories, the council focused on partisan attacks based on misinformation from Stone-Manning’s grad school days over three decades ago. The Council chose partisan politics over the best interests of those of us who live, work, and recreate in Utah. We deserve better than that. Tracy Stone-Manning is the leader that the Bureau of Land Management needs right now to steward our lands so they will thrive and flourish for all Americans to enjoy for generations to come.
Andres Fierro Morales is a Policy and Advocacy Intern with Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO).