Patagonia founder invited to DC to testify before Congress

Patagonia ran its "The President Stole Your Land" campaign when national monuments were downsized, and sued the Trump Administration. Now its founder Yvon Chouinard has been asked to testify before Congress.

Yvon Chouinard - Patagonia/YouTube

Chouinard has been invited to testify before Congress by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). Bishop, one of the Utah politicians who asked the Trump Administration to remove federal protection of the lands, is now on a quest to represent all perspectives on the land use issue to his committee.

Bishop's letter to Chouinard said, “It is apparent through multiple media accounts and appearances that you have strong feelings on the topic [of land use policy]... As part of this continuing process, I wish to invite you to testify before the committee about your views on federal land management.”

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration issued an order reducing and removing protection of 2 million acres of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. As an environmentally friendly company, Patagonia responded by posting a banner on its home page and social channels asking customers to speak up against the federal government's decision.

At the same time, Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard told CNN that "This government is evil and I’m not going to sit back and let evil win."

The feud has intensified between Patagonia and the federal government. Politicians have stated that Patagonia's campaign is full of lies, while Patagonia has joined a coalition of entities that are suing the Trump Administration in DC, alleging the federal land protection should not have been removed.

The outdoor industry is worth $887 billion in consumer spending and is heavily impacted by the decision to reduce public lands. Over two thirds of consumers use public lands for their outdoor recreation activities including climbing, hiking and paddling, three of Patagonia's core categories.

REI and The North Face have also indirectly aligned with Patagonia's stance through behind-the-scenes donations to the lawsuit, as well as through social media statements.

Patagonia said it learned of Chouinard's invitation through the media. Its Ventura offices have been closed as the area is engulfed in the Thomas wildfire which is now California's third largest wildfire in state history.

Patagonia spokesperson Corley Kenna said the company would respond to the committee's invitation "as soon as possible."

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