US Interior Secretary Zinke responds to Patagonia
After Patagonia's protest of the federal government's removal of national monument protection from 2 million acres of public lands, US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calls the campaign a "blatant lie" and "shameful."
Yesterday, Patagonia aggressively promoted the message that "The President Stole Your Land" on its social channels and website. It threatened to sue President Trump and is encouraging its consumers to activate to protect America's public lands.
This was in response to the Trump Administration's order on Monday to remove 2 million acres of land that was formerly designated as national monuments in Utah, a move that Patagonia and others in the outdoor industry are claiming was illegal.
Zinke told reporters, "I understand fundraising for these special interest groups, but I think its shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to put money in their coffers."
Zinke continued to tell reporters on the news show Fox and Friends that the land needs to be actively managed. He cited families with private ranching operations as his focus. He said, "Public use is important, and our land is for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and not special interest groups.”
While Zinke was the driving force behind the order taking away public lands in Utah, he took a different opinion on protecting lands in his home state of Montana. Earlier this year, Zinke recommended to President Trump to designate a new 130,000-acre national monument in the Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana, close to where he grew up.
Zinke defended his actions saying, "There is not one square inch that leaves the federal estate but we do restore national forest to a National Forest, restore wilderness, and we open up our public land to the public, greater access, making sure hunting and fishing rights, grazing." He added there are families who are facing threats to their livelihoods.
Lawsuits have already been filed by the Native American tribes who consider the land sacred, as well as environmental groups claiming that removing the protected status was illegal. It has been reported that the President's motivation in passing the order was to open the land up to be used for oil and gas extraction.
The outdoor industry stands to lose from the decision from a financial point of view. 71 percent of climbers, Patagonia's first target customer and the category that launched the brand, use public lands for their sport. 70 percent of hunters and 43 percent of paddlers in America use public lands for their recreation.
As FashionNetwork.com previously reported, the outdoor industry contributes to 7.6 million jobs and $887 billion in consumer spending, figures that will likely be affected by the decision to reduce public lands available for these activities.
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