Monday, 24 September, 2018

Patagonia, REI Slam Trump for Downsizing National Monument Protected Lands

The namesake “bears ears” of Bears Ears National Monument.    
   George Frey  Getty Images The namesake “bears ears” of Bears Ears National Monument. George Frey Getty Images
Stacy Diaz | 07 December, 2017, 23:00

Without legal protections in place, entire ecosystems of wildlife and ecologically as well as historically-valuable sites could be destroyed, and tragically, this may be the future for two wondrous national monuments in Utah, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Audio will be available later today. Nearly as soon as the reduction was announced, a deluge of lawsuits were filed on behalf of many involved in that fight - including one by a coalition of 10 conservation groups, and one by a coalition of five Native American Tribes.

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight organizations on Monday, claiming the President violated the Antiquities Act, signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to preserve ruins or monuments on federal land.

Bears Ears National Monument was established as a national monument by President Obama in December 2016, and Grand Staircase-Escalante was set as a national monument by President Clinton in 1996. This proposal is the largest reversal of federally-protected land in USA history.

REI also disagreed with the move, noting that the decision would deplete the USA outdoor industry's economic growth.

Trump's order reduces the size of the iconic Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, where numerous dinosaur fossils have been found. "In that light, we believe there is a compelling case to maintain the integrity of our existing national monuments".

"Trump's unprecedented, illegal action is a brutal blow to our public lands, an affront to Native Americans and a disgrace to the presidency", said Randi Spivak, the public lands program director at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. According to the OIA, more than three million Americans have contacted the administration to protect public lands, including outdoor recreation company executives that are creating more jobs in rural communities.

Outdoor retailer Patagonia is no stranger to throwing its weight behind worthy causes, particularly those aligned with its mission to "use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis". OIA said the move will enable industry members to come together to protect public lands and boost the US outdoor industry's economy moving forward. And we'll use every tool available and we will prevail.