President Donald Trump announced his decision to drastically reduce the size of two wilderness national monuments in Utah by at least half in the biggest rollback of public land protection in U.S. history.
In response to the move, California-based outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia said it plans to sue the Trump administration over the decision and described it as an “illegal move.”
The company modified its homepage and posted a message highly critical of Trump.
“The president stole your land,” read the message in large text on a black screen.
The message is followed by another one written in smaller text that read, “In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”
Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario also released a statement.
“Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments. We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts,” he said.
Under the Trump’s plans, one of the directives would target Bears Ears National Monument, which was created by former President Barack Obama in 2016. The 1.3-million-acre monument would be reduced to 228,784 acres, split into two areas.
Under another proclamation, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996, would be cut nearly in half.
Several monuments have been resized in the past but none of them have been cut back to such an extent. Former presidents, including Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft, did order to reduce some monuments but their actions were never challenged in court.
Trump arrived in Utah to formally give a go-ahead to his plans.
“I have come to Utah to take a very historic action: to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens. Here, and in other affected states, we have seen harmful and unnecessary restrictions on hunting, ranching and responsible economic development. We have seen grazing restrictions prevent ranching families from passing their businesses and beloved heritage on to the children,” he said.
The reason Trump is putting forward to justify his decision is absurd. The president, once again, seems to be weak on his facts because hunting and grazing were permitted in both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments.
The announcement created a furor among environmentalists prompting legal action.
“When we see this kind of folly, we will meet it swiftly with a legal complaint,” Sharon Buccino, director of land and wildlife programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, said, “We will be fighting back immediately. All five tribes will be standing together united to defend Bears Ears.”
Vice president of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, called the move a “sad day in Indian country.”
Patagonia isn’t the only company voicing their anger over Trump’s actions. Outdoor brand REI also criticized Trump over the cuts.
“Today’s decision hurts the people who love these places. Americans enjoy our public lands in every part of the country, irrespective of politics. Not only have hikers, cyclists, climbers and hunters enjoyed national monuments, but economies have been built around them through outfitters, guides and retailers. The $887 billion outdoor recreation economy employs over 7.6 million people in good, sustainable jobs."
I think I have to look to Patagonia for my xmas shopping - this is a company I want to support! https://t.co/FEaVOAahiA— Alison Greene (@GrassrootsSpeak) December 5, 2017
Well, I went to Patagonia’s home page, and kept going to make a purchase and support what they are doing. pic.twitter.com/KfWapm2Gus— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) December 5, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Andrew Cullen