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Opinion: Stone-Manning is ideal leader for Bureau of Land Management
Guest column

Opinion: Stone-Manning is ideal leader for Bureau of Land Management

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We've long known that the best way to tackle tough problems is to listen to folks around the kitchen table or at the local tavern. It’s important to hear them out, to consider their points of view. That kind of collaboration is exactly how Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden's nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, operates. We've known her personally for over 25 years and she has never wavered in trying to find common ground.

She knows the power of listening to all perspectives and opinions, and even talked about the importance of doing so in her hearing before the Senate. That's why the Blackfoot Valley, our home, is better off for her work. As the director of the Clark Fork Coalition, she successfully advocated for the removal of Milltown Dam at the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers, giving bull trout a path back to their home waters in the Blackfoot. She successfully advocated for clean-up of the Mike Horse mine upstream, after decades of it being a threat to all living creatures downstream. She made the Blackfoot a healthier river and created thousands of jobs doing it.

Stone-Manning used those same coalition-building skills during her tenure with U.s. Sen. Jon Tester when she brought together ranchers, timber interests, outdoor recreationists and local community members to develop a plan to protect wilderness, open up new areas for snowmobiling and mountain biking, while safeguarding local timber and recreation jobs.

In her work with Governor Bullock, she played a key role in brokering bipartisan policy through the state legislature and working with Republican and Democratic governors in the West to develop a common-sense, bipartisan plan to conserve sage grouse habitat.

She has continued her bipartisan, coalition-building work at the National Wildlife Federation where she led the organization’s successful efforts to get the Land and Water Conservation Fund fully funded and permanently authorized in Congress, and has led key bipartisan legislative initiatives to get funding for restoration of our nation’s grasslands, forests, wetlands, and coastal areas.

Stone-Manning's vast experience, her temperament and her ability to work with all stakeholders make her an ideal candidate to lead the agency that manages more than 245 million acres of our cherished public lands. Those lands face tremendous challenges right now from drought, megafires, invasive species and climate change.

Tracy Stone-Manning is just the person to meet these challenges and opportunities. As a Westerner, a hunter and an avid outdoorswoman, she knows firsthand how important public lands are to the lives and livelihoods of rural Americans like us. She will work with ranchers, timber folks, miners, hunters, anglers and all who want to see our public lands thrive. And she will ensure that the Bureau of Land Management returns to its mission of multiple use so that the health and productivity of these lands can be enjoyed by future generations.

We are appalled by the ugly, unfair partisan attacks she is enduring that are just not based on the truth. We're grateful for the leadership Senator Tester has shown in supporting Stone-Manning’s nomination and urge U.S. Sen. Steve Daines to stop the partisan attacks.

It’s time to confirm Tracy Stone-Manning as director of the Bureau of Land Management so she can begin the collaborative work of stewarding our public lands for all Americans.

Janet McMillan is a retired attorney, served in the legal department of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and was a tribal judge for the Northern Cheyenne. Land Lindbergh has lived in the Blackfoot Valley for over 50 years, ranching for much of that time. They live in Greenough. 

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