Senate confirms Stone-Manning as BLM director

The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Tracy Stone-Manning as director of the Bureau of Land Management in a party-line vote. The senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, Stone-Manning was nominated as BLM Director in April, generating a fair amount of controversy on Capitol Hill.

Stone-Manning becomes the second woman to lead the BLM. She previously served as director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, chief of staff to former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and senior adviser to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. However, due to her work at NWF and previous associations with more extreme environmental organizations such as Earth First, some Senators were concerned about her ability to abide by the BLM’s multiple-use mandate.  Many hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation groups endorsed her nomination.

Stone-Manning is assuming the helm of the agency as the first confirmed director since January 2017, when Neil Kornze left the position. She will be jumping into the agency’s top role at a time when the BLM is undergoing more changes and uncertainty.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently announced that the BLM headquarters will be moved back to Washington, D.C., after more than a year in Grand Junction, Colorado. The former administration relocated the headquarters office as part of a larger Interior Department reorganization. However, many BLM employees reassigned to Grand Junction or other offices in the West left the agency rather than relocate. In 2019, The Wildlife Society expressed concerns in a letter about the move and its potential impact to the BLM’s wildlife program and employees.

The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Robert Anderson as solicitor for the Department of the Interior in late September. Anderson is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and a law professor at the University of Washington. He also served as associate solicitor for Indian affairs and as counselor to the Interior secretary during the Clinton administration.

A nominee for director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet been announced. Martha Williams, the principal deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the former director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is acting as the USFWS director until the director’s position is filled. A nominee for director of the U.S. Geological Service has not been announced yet, either.

Header Image: The Senate has confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning as the director of the Bureau of Land Management.
Credit: Greg Shine/BLM