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On tree-spiking: “What happens when the saw hits this spike is what happens in a war when a hand grenade goes off.”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), senior member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a business meeting to consider the nomination of Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning to be director of the Bureau of Land Management:


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This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:

“I’ve only been on this committee 13 years, but I’ve got to tell you, this is probably the most significant act of an insult to a really good agency and the people in that agency that I’ve ever seen perpetrated by this committee.

“I don’t know how this nomination has got this far, but I think that we ought to spend some time looking at that.

“Let’s first of all talk about what tree-spiking is for a minute. This is a tree spike. Looks pretty harmless. You put that into a tree and it sits in a tree until the tree is cut and taken to the mill.

“I’m probably the only one in this room that has ever ridden a carriage. A carriage is a piece of equipment in a mill on which the log is set. A person drives that carriage back and forth and saws it into logs.

“The saw can be one of two types, either a circular saw in a small mill or, more likely, a large saw which would go to the roof in here and down again. It’s about an inch and a half wide and double.

“What happens when the saw hits this spike is what happens in a war when a hand grenade goes off. Shrapnel goes every direction. It destroys the saw, be it a band saw or a circular saw, and it will break the spike into shrapnel. It will either kill or injure anyone who is within range of the shrapnel. That’s what tree spiking is.

“So, why do you put this in a tree? You put this in a tree to kill somebody. It’s not put in there for fun. It’s not a Sunday school prank. You put this in a tree to kill somebody.

“I studied forestry like most of you know. We didn’t even study tree-spiking because it didn’t exist back when I was in forestry school. It was only when eco-terrorism, and particularly that involved with the national forests, hit its peak that some genius came up with this idea of how to kill people that are working in the forest industry. That’s what tree spiking is.

“Some of my friends that I’ve talked with in Congress say, ‘Well, she made a mistake 30 years ago.’ This is not a mistake. This is a knowing, willful, intentional act done with a black, abandoned, and malignant heart, intended to kill a fellow human being. This is not a mistake. A mistake is when you reach in your sock drawer and you take out two socks that don’t match.

“This is an intentional act for which people are sent to prison and should be.

“These spikes were put in the trees in the Post Office sale in Idaho and they’re there still there. The Forest Service can’t take them out. I ask them if they got plans to take them out and they said, ‘There’s no way to take these spikes out. We don’t know which trees they’re in.’ Those are still in the trees.

“Sometime as time goes on, and all this gets lost, it’s entirely possible one of those trees is still going to kill someone in a mill.

“Well, she wrote the letter, and I’m not going to read the letter in full because it’s laced with obscenities but, she said that ‘This letter is been sent to notify you the Post Office sale in Idaho has been spiked heavily. The project required that 11 of us,’ 11 of us, ‘spent 9 days in god-awful weather conditions spiking trees. We,’we!, ‘unloaded a total of 500 pounds of spikes measuring 8 to 10 inches in length.’ Then she goes on again with laced obscenities.

“She admits to writing this letter. She did this. As part of the conspiracy to spike trees in the forest.

“Now, this woman was deeply involved, and the fact that she has tried to minimize her involvement, I get that. Most criminals do that. But we have clear evidence that she was deeply involved. Not only evidence from third parties, but herself where she admits she wrote this letter.

“Of course, she was investigated as Senator Barrasso said at great length. Now that was 30 years ago, so if you’re one of those that say, ‘Oh, this was 30 years ago, it was, you know, it was a childish prank,’ or what have you; someone who tries to take the life of another human being, this is not something you can say, ‘Oh, it’s a childish prank 30 years ago.’

“Somewhere in the deep recesses of her heart and her soul is something so malignant and so bad that she would try and take another life. That remains today, and if you don’t believe me, read the stuff she has written in the last couple years.

“So, if you are ready to forgive all that, she committed a felony in perjuring herself to this committee in violation of federal law. She perjured herself in two ways: one, when she denied having been investigated – as the record is absolutely clear she was investigated – and the second one, she said she did not participate in this tree spiking.

“This is one of the questions that was to her: ‘Did you have personal knowledge of, participating in, or in any way directly or indirectly support activities associated with the spiking of trees in any forest in your lifetime?’ ‘No,’ under oath! ‘No,’ under oath!

“You know, I’ve prosecuted I don’t know how many cases, this for a prosecutor is shooting fish in a barrel.

“She shouldn’t be in front of this committee for confirmation to a major, major, point in this administration; she should be in front of a jury, explaining to them why she committed perjury and why she lied to Congress.

“My friends, look, if you want to confirm her, you absolutely can. But believe me, this stain on this administration will last for the next three and a half years.

“If the Biden administration wants to have the face and the character of their administration represented by this individual, this attempted murderer, this perjurer, this liar, this conspirator, if that’s what you want in the administration, and that’s what you want for the face of the administration, here’s your person. Confirm her.”

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