Native American tribes and environmental groups aren’t the only ones who care about President Donald Trump trying to whittle away at protection for national monuments. Patagonia, a well-known brand of outdoor clothing, has recently voiced its contention as well.
Trump, an ardent supporter of states’ rights, recently signed legislation that would scale back two Utah-based monuments. People who seek to protect the Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Bears Ears National Monument voiced their displeasure immediately. Their main fear is that companies will use the land for grazing, mining, and the drilling of oil because it’s rich in uranium.
Patagonia, one of the most outspoken critics of this development, stated it will sue the White House. It also informed its website visitors that President Trump stole their land. The company’s CEO, Rose Marcario, stated that Patagonia will take its fight to court if necessary.
On December 4, the environmental activist group Earthjustice filed a federal lawsuit representing eight other like-minded organizations. The lawsuit claims Trump violated the 1906 Antiquities Act that guarantees the preservation of monuments or ruins that sit on public land. Earthjustice argues that Trump is catering to the coal mining industry instead of protecting the heritage of monuments and ruins in the two Utah parks.
Navajo Nation, a Native American activist group, stated that it will file a legal challenge against Trump’s decision as well. Like Patagonia and Earthjustice, Navajo Nation cites the violation of the Antiquities Act as the reason for its actions and outrage.
Former President Barack Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument before leaving office in January 2017. The monument includes approximately 100,000 archaeological sites.
The move by Trump upset Native Americans who conduct many spiritual rituals at the two monuments, including healing ceremonies and collection of wood and herbs.
The December 4 legislation by Trump reduces Bears Ears National Monument by 84 percent. This amounts to 220,000 acres. He also requested Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, to review an additional 27 monuments earlier in 2017.
Trump has also ordered downsizing of the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument to one million acres from 1.9 million acres. His reasoning is that public lands should be available for public use. However, critics think he’s more concerned with the potential profits from billions of tons of oil and coal deposits.