The White House on Thursday nominated Tracy Stone-Manning as the Bureau of Land Management director, potentially putting an environmentalist in charge of America’s largest land-owning agency.
Manning is a senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation and is the organization’s former associate vice president for public lands. If confirmed as land bureau chief, she would preside over all of America’s onshore oil, gas and coal reserves and manage more than 244 million acres of federal public land, mostly in the West.
She is at least the second environmentalist named to lead the land bureau. The Interior Department previously named former National Audubon Society senior counsel Nada Culver as the land bureau’s deputy director.
Stone-Manning and the Interior Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening. But the potential for her to lead the agency drew skepticism from industry.
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a trade group representing oil and gas companies operating on land bureau land, said the choice showed environmental activists were running the Interior Department. “I don’t have any particular insight on her personally,” added Sgamma.
Others welcomed the possibility of her leading the land bureau. Thomas Jensen, a partner at Perkins Coie LLP, said he rarely encountered anyone with a stronger work ethic or greater commitment to fairness and integrity than Stone-Manning.
“Tracy can be counted on to listen to all sides and bring to bear the balanced, nuanced judgment that her prior jobs in government demanded,” Jensen said.
Before joining the National Wildlife Federation, Stone-Manning served as chief of staff to former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and was an adviser and regional director for Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont).
Bob Abbey, former land bureau director in the Obama administration, said he doesn’t know Stone-Manning, but has high regards for Bullock and Tester.
“If her work ethic and understanding of the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple use mission are aligned with theirs, then she will do fine,” Abbey said.