Another Obama official raises concerns about Biden nominee linked to eco-terrorism
Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram discusses the controversial nomination on 'The Story'
Steve Ellis, who was deputy director of BLM under former President Obama, expressed his concern of what the confirmation of Stone-Manning could do to both the agency and the U.S. Forest Service.
Ellis is a near-four decade veteran of both BLM and the Forest Service. He retired from the agency in 2016.
"Much of the focus seems to be whether this is a Democrat or Republican thing, but the lens I look at this through is as a 38-year career person in both agencies, and that letter she wrote went to my Forest Service colleagues on the Clearwater," Ellis said to the Spokane Spokesman-Review last week.
"The administration’s got some great initiatives and their agenda for public lands is good, but you need the career employees to implement your agenda successfully across the West," he continued. "Your leader has got to be respected by career employees and across the landscape, in both blue and red states."
Ellis is the second Obama BLM official to weigh in on Stone-Manning’s nomination. Obama's first BLM Director Bob Abbey said last month that the BLM nominee’s involvement in an Earth First! tree-spiking plot "should disqualify her."
Tree spiking is a dangerous and violent eco-terrorism tactic where metal rods are inserted into trees to prevent them from being cut down. The metal rods damage saws that, in turn, have severely injured people, such as a mill worker whose jaw was split in two from an exploding saw.
Stone-Manning has come under fire from Senate Republicans for her involvement in the plot, with Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, repeatedly tearing into Biden’s nominee for her role.
Noting his decade-long experience on the committee, Risch eviscerated Stone-Manning’s nomination in the committee hearing on it 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."
"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.
"So, why do you put this in a tree? You put this in a tree to kill somebody," Risch asked his fellow committee members during the hearing. "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."
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., shared the same concern as Ellis during the hearing last week, pointing to an E&E Newsreport that revealed Biden’s nominee knew of the tree-spiking plot "far in advance," according to the plot’s ringleader, John Blount.
"This isn’t just about groups that work with the agency or even the people who enjoy our public lands, it’s about all the employees at the Bureau of Land Management," Barrasso said.
"How can the men and women who work at this important agency respect Tracy Stone-Manning knowing she threatened their colleagues at the U.S. Forest Service?" he asked.
Stone-Manning’s nomination came to a standstill last week after the committee vote to advance her nomination split 50-50. Democrats will need a discharge petition to get Stone-Manning’s nomination through to the Senate floor for a vote.
The White House did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Ellis’ concerns nor Fox News’ question on if they are confident Stone-Manning will get fully confirmed by the Senate.