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Reporting from the St. George area focused on local government, public lands and the environment, indigenous issues and faith and spirituality.

Iron, Garfield Counties Passed Resolution Opposing Bureau Of Land Management Nominee

A photo of a landscape.
Lexi Peery
A majority of Garfield County is federal land. Garfield and Iron counties passed resolutions opposing President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Land Management.

Iron and Garfield counties passed resolutions this week against President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management. They join Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, and Mitt Romney, R-UT, in opposing Tracy Stone-Manning, who is currently part of the National Wildlife Federation.

The resolution the counties passed raised concerns about things like Stone-Manning’s past connection to a radical environmental group and her stance on grazing.

The BLM manages around 42% of land in Utah, and a majority of both counties. Iron County Commissioner Mike Bleak said they work very closely with federal leadership.

“I've sat in the director of the BLM office of the Department of Interior and had conversations about our county, and I don't know that that could ever happen again if [Stone-Manning] were allowed to be the director,” Bleak said.

Steve Bloch, the legal director for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, supports Stone-Manning’s nomination. He said he thinks she’ll listen to more groups than the acting director under the previous administration did.

“I'm expecting a more even handed approach from Stone-Manning,” he said. “I have no doubt she’s going to listen to the concerns from rural Utahns, but that's not going to be the only voice that she listens to.”

Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock said he’s also spent time with BLM directors, especially William Perry Pendley, who was the previous acting director of the agency. He said he thinks Stone-Manning will try to ban grazing and certain kinds of recreation on the federal land in his county.

Pollock said he would be fine with a more moderate nominee, calling her an “eco-terrorist.”

“It's just this specific person because of her record,” he said. “You can take the Biden administration out of the equation.”

But Mike Saccone, a spokesperson with the National Wildlife Federation, said Stone-Manning has spent 30 years working on collaborative, bipartisan conservation. She’s worked as a Democratic aide and environmental regulator in Montana.

“Tracy is a Westerner … she brought that vital perspective to past positions and she'll bring it to the Bureau of Land Management,” Saccone said. “She understands the critical role that our public lands play, not only for outdoor recreation and wildlife, but also for people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on those lands.”

The full Senate still has to vote on her nomination.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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