President Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Tracy Stone-Manning, advocated for violent action and worked to further the extremist mission of Earth First!, as she co-edited a radical environmental newsletter.
She testified that she “helped edit” a local Earth First! Newsletter called the Wild Rockies Review while a graduate student 30 years ago at the University of Montana in Missoula.
At the time, the editors and contributors of the Wild Rockies Reviews used pseudonyms or just last names to avoid any legal consequences for their writing; Stone was listed in multiple issues as “Stone” under “Assistance” on their title page. Stone-Manning went by “Tracy Stone” before marriage.
For example, the “Autumnal Equinox Issue,” labeled Vol. 1, No. 3. Also named under “Assistance” on that issue’s masthead was Stone-Manning’s classmate Bill Haskins, who was one of seven, including Stone-Manning, who was subpoenaed in 1989 over a tree spiking crime.
The issue included an obscene letter to the editor advocating violent action and the potential assassination of government officials. “Dear Weeniewanker, What is all this pussyfooting bullshit about sensitive treatment of Forest Service pigdogs who ream our public lands,” the letter began:
“Rend the entire USFS [U.S. Forest Service] limb from limb and tear out its guts,” it continued. “These swine are evil and must be rubbed out.”
On the same issue, page 13, an article outlines the steps EarthFirst! Followers are to take to prevent the building of a road in Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, the same forest of a later target Stone-Manning was involved with.
Stages one and two of the article’s plan included contacting stakeholders to express opposition to building the road and suing those stakeholders when necessary. Stage three resorted to physically blocking the project work “with non-violent civil disobedience actions, and a few new tactics.” Stage four ominously only instructed readers, “Use your imagination!”
“Remember, we’re in at Stage 1 now. Let’s hope we don’t make it to Stage 4, but be prepared!” the article stated.
In the 1988 “Winter Solstice Issue,” labeled Vol. 1, No. 4, a “Stone” is also named under “Assistance.”
An article on page five of this issue, titled “$ummer Fire$ Up in $moke,” strikes a tune similar to that of a recent Harper’s Magazine article written by Stone-Manning’s husband suggesting homes in wildfire-prone areas ought to be left to burn as a consequence of perceived poor construction and zoning decisions. Stone-Manning last year shared her husband’s 2018 article on her social media and described it as a “clarion call.”
The Wild Rockies Review article asked, “Who really is responsible for a cabin that is consumed by wildfire?”
“Stone” was again listed on the masthead of the 1989 “Spring Equinox Issue,” labeled Vol. 2, No. 1. That issue’s lead editorial included a defense of the criminal acts of tree spiking and monkeywrenching.
Tree spiking is a form of sabotage — and an act of eco-terrorism as defined by the FBI — in which metal spikes are hammered into trees to prevent loggers from harvesting them. Tree spikes have been known to destroy expensive logging equipment and cause injury to the loggers or millworkers processing the spiked trees. Monkeywrenching is any tactic used by saboteurs to prevent what they believe to be environmental destruction, and the term can encompass acts of ecoterrorism.
The editorial, titled “Who Are the Real Terrorists,” promoted “confrontational politics” like “non-violent civil disobedience” and then stated, “We can, as a group, make no statement condoning or denying monkeywrenching.”
“Some criticize those who spend their time writing for being hypocritical and not getting out into the field to do something directly related to the terrorism that our politicians and military-industrial complex are wreaking,” the editorial continued. “This is all well and good, as the hand that writes need not necessarily be the hand that spikes. What binds us is our common goal to put Earth First!”
The editorial described tree spiking as a “fine art.”
Also in the Spring Equinox Issue is a letter to the editor from “Sick of Talk” calling for monkeywrenching. “What stops a road? Sand in an engine. What stops a saw? Metal and clay,” the letter read. “We know monkywrenching [sic] works. So do it. Often. You can go join an organization if you just want to talk”:
In the same issue, later, an ad for Live Wild or Die indicated that chapters of Earth First! distributed the Journal. Live Wild or Die has often been described as the “most radical” of the activist publications circulating during that time. One particular 1989 issue of Live Wild or Die contained an “Eco-Fucker Hit List,” which later became associated with Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber.
The list was a reprint from a wilderness conference and contained names of conference cosponsors and committee members.
According to several reports from 1995–1996, Kaczynski possessed a copy of the “Eco-Fucker Hit List” and may have used it to target some of his victims. One of Kaczynski’s bombs was mailed to the organization at the top of the “Ec0-Fucker Hit List,” the Timber Association of California, which had changed its name to the California Forestry Association. The bomb package killed California Forestry Association President Gil Murray while he was at work in 1995.
As Breitbart News reported, Kaczynski granted his first media interview after his arrest to the then-editor of the Earth First! Journal and praised the group during the interview as being like-minded. He even characterized himself as being an “Earth Firster satellite.”
Bruce Vincent, a fourth-generation logging business called Vincent Logging in 1998, testified before congress he had been the target of ecoterrorism in 1989. Vincent stated that he had been featured in a skit performed by a “group in Missoula, Montana,” He was shot and killed to save animals. He also received anonymous threatening letters and phone calls, and he explained instances in which his bulldozer and trucks were tampered with, which created dangerous scenarios for the equipment operators.
Vincent spoke with Breitbart News about the Missoula-based environmental activist community that Stone-Manning was a part of. “The school of environmental activism down there, the University of Montana, had some real issues then,” he said, adding those issues included “believing that it was okay to go to the extreme to make points, political points.”
Vincent said, “When they printed tongue-and-cheek the article on ‘ecokamikazes’ … that is not simply a very vigorous conservation group. That is eco terror.” He said the group’s reputation, “Back then, Earth First! wanted to blow up the systems that were collaborating.”
As senior policy adviser for the National Wildlife Federation, Stone-Manning said in 2013 that she ultimately left Earth First! because the group members were “angry,” according to the Missoulian. She said, “Anger doesn’t do much. It doesn’t solve problems. What I do is solve problems.” She also at that time denied having a role in the 1989 tree spiking crime except for sending a letter on behalf of a “disturbed man” because she “didn’t want anyone to be hurt.”
As Breitbart News reported on the tree spiking case:
In 1989, Stone-Manning mailed a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, an individual in her “circle of friends,” crudely warning federal authorities that trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest that were scheduled to be cut down had been sabotaged with metal spikes to prevent them from being harvested.
After the Forest Service received the warning letter, Stone-Manning and six other individuals in Missoula were the 1989 grand jury investigation target. They were subpoenaed and required to submit fingerprints and hair samples. However, the 1989 grand jury did not uncover enough evidence to charge Blount or anyone else with the crime. The case was not solved until Blount’s ex-girlfriend reported him to authorities two years later, and in doing so, also named Stone-Manning as the person who mailed the letter for him. In exchange for immunity, Stone-Manning testified in the 1993 trial against Blount, who was convicted for the tree spiking crime and sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Former BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley references interviews in which Stone-Manning admits she did not come forward about her knowledge of Blount’s 1989 tree spiking until her 1993 testimony. Stone-Manning later filled out a questionnaire for her Senate confirmation hearing with inaccuracies related to the tree spiking case.
Stone-Manning’s role in the Wild Rockies Review was not commented on through requests of both the Department of Interior and the National Wildlife Federation.