HELENA — Tracy Stone-Manning, a National Wildlife Federation executive in Missoula and top aide to former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, will be nominated by the Biden administration to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Stone-Manning was chief of staff for Bullock during his second term as governor and also directed the state Department of Environmental Quality under Bullock. She left the administration in 2017 to join NWF as its associate vice president for public lands.
Manning’s nomination drew immediate praise Wednesday from some conservation groups.
Nick Gevock, conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said she’s a hunter and defender of public lands, and that she’ll be leading reforms of oil-and-gas leasing policies that in the past have “ripped off” taxpayers.
“This is big for us, because we care about not getting ripped off by non-competitive oil-and-gas leasing,” he told MTN News. “She also understands the importance of putting people to work on restoring our public lands.”
The BLM oversees almost 250 million acres of federal land and manages 700 million acres of mineral estate beneath federal, state and private lands. About 8 million of those surface acres are in Montana and the Dakotas, as well as 47 million acres of mineral estate.
The Biden administration has put a moratorium on oil-and-gas leasing on federal lands, while it decides how to reform a process it says has been tilted toward the industry, offering low-cost, non-competitive lease terms.
Whitney Tawney, executive director of Montana Conservation Voters, said Stone-Manning is more than familiar with Western issues and is the right person to be installed at BLM to start "undoing the damage from the last administration."
"We’re incredibly lucky to have a Montanan included in that," she said. "She understand how much our public lands mean to our economy here in Montana. I couldn’t be more excited."
And, Ben Gabriel of the Montana Wilderness Association said having Stone-Manning at BLM will be “an incredible boon for Montana and our nation.”
“She’s a straight shooter with an impressive history of working on both sides of the aisle for the good of public lands, wildlife, water quality and Montana’s rural communities,” he said.
Stone-Manning could not immediately be reached for comment.
Stone-Manning also has worked as the state director for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and for the Clark Fork Coalition in Missoula, including when the coalition advocated for removal of the Milltown Dam and cleanup of years of mining waste behind it.
Stone-Manning’s nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.