Stone-Manning was sworn in as BLM director

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Tracy Stone-Manning was sworn in today as the first Senate-confirmed director of the Bureau of Land Management in nearly five years.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland presided over the ceremony at Home Office headquarters in Washington, DC

“Tracy brings a wealth of conservation and environmental policy knowledge to these efforts and a history of working with various communities serving our public lands,” Haaland said in a statement. “I look forward to working with her to strengthen the office and advance the mission of the Interior.”

Stone-Manning, who a deeply divided Senate confirmed as BLM director according to party lines last month, has already been in place at the BLM for several weeks.

She was officially sworn in as director of the BLM on October 12, federal court says deposit by the Justice Department which added Stone-Manning as a defendant in the ongoing Home Interior appeal against a court ruling last year that William Perry Pendley illegally served as office manager during the Trump administration.

Stone-Manning has already introduced herself as a manager to employees, telling them last week in an online staff meeting that she was committed to rebuilding the agency after BLM’s tumultuous headquarters move to Grand Junction, Colorado during the Trump era. (PM E&E News, October 19).

The move of headquarters from Washington, DC, along with the associated relocation of hundreds of other positions to state offices across the West, led to 287 of the 328 staff who were ordered to leave BLM , either by retirement, or by looking for positions in other Interior Agencies (PM E&E News, January 28).

Haaland told employees last month that BLM’s national headquarters would be moved back to Washington, and the Grand Junction office would be renamed as a Western hub (PM E&E News, September 17).

BLM is the largest landowner in the federal government, overseeing approximately 245 million acres of surface land and 700 million acres of underground mining, primarily in the West. The agency has approximately 9,500 employees.

The last confirmed BLM director was Neil Kornze, who was approved in April 2014 by the Senate to serve in the Obama administration. Until Stone-Manning’s confirmation, BLM had been without a permanent director since Kornze left the office in January 2017.

Pendley essentially ran BLM during the last 18 months of the Trump administration, but former President Trump withdrew his directorial appointment in the fall of 2020 after significant opposition from conservation groups and others.

Stone-Manning is also only the second woman to lead BLM in its 75-year history, joining Kathleen Clarke, who served as director from 2000 to 2006 in the George W. Bush administration.

“I am deeply honored to lead the Bureau of Land Management and to carry out its essential mission of protecting and managing American public lands,” Stone-Manning said in a statement following the ceremony.

“I recognize that there is work to be done to rebuild the BLM, and I look forward to connecting with the important stakeholders who build on its strong management,” she added. “Our public lands are one of the best ideas in America, and I’m ready to work alongside a remarkable team to ensure our outdoor spaces are protected for current and future generations to enjoy.”

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