President Joe Biden has nominated Tracy Stone-Manning of Missoula, Mont., to direct the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. She will oversee roughly a quarter-billion acres of federally owned land in Western states.
Stone-Manning worked as chief of staff for former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and was an aide to U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.
She has spent the past four years at the National Wildlife Federation, which has raised concerns among Republicans.
Katie Schoettler, a spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, says the Republican is concerned about Stone-Manning's status as a board member for Montana Conservation Voters, which sponsored ads targeting Daines when he was challenged by Bullock last year.
“She comes from a very partisan left leaning organization and so … you know, we’re going to have to kind of see if we can make sure we can, that she represents balanced views here in Montana and reflect where most Montanans are,” Daines said.
Tester released a statement of praise for Stone-Mannings’ appointment, saying, “Tracy Stone-Manning is imminently qualified to take the helm at the Bureau of Land Management at such a critical time for the agency.”
Stone-Manning’s is the latest in a string of political appointments raising concerns among Republicans as Biden moves to curtail energy production from public reserves.
The bureau has jurisdiction over vast reserves of oil, gas and coal. It’s set to play a key role in Biden’s commitment, announced Thursday, to cut climate-warming emissions from fossil fuels by at least half by 2030.
Editor's Note 04/24/2021: A previous version of this story said Stone-Manning's affiliation with the National Wildlife Federation raised concerns from Sen. Daines. This story has been updated with a clarification from the senator's spokesperson.