Patagonia files lawsuit against Trump in DC over national monuments
Patagonia has joined a broad coalition that officially filed a lawsuit in federal court in DC against the Trump Administration, alleging the President illegally revoked protection of Bears Ears National Monument.
The complaint alleges the President's order is contrary to law, and that it dishonors Native American heritage and culture. The law at issue is the Antiquities Act, established over 100 years ago to protect and preserve unique places in America from destruction.
Sixteen US Presidents have previously used the authority of the law to designate a total of 157 national monuments. President Trump, on the other hand, has chosen to revoke protection of 85% of the Bears Ears National Monument, which has a history of scientific and cultural relevance.
In addition to being sacred to Native Americans and a destination for outdoor recreation, the land has yielded fossils and other scientific evidence which has helped paleontologists and archaeologists piece together important information about evolution and our planet's climate history.
The complaint also argues that the revocation ignores overwhelming public support for the original monument designation. 98 percent of 3 million public social media comments published this summer expressed the desire to keep the land protected.
As well as Patagonia Works, the coalition of plaintiffs includes Utah Diné Bikéyah, Friends of Cedar Mesa, Archaeology Southwest, Conservation Lands Foundation, Access Fund, the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The organizations represent a range of interests from scientific and historical to social and those related to outdoor recreation.
Patagonia CEO and President Rose Marcario pointed out that Americans have overwhelmingly been opposed to the Trump Administration's revocation of protection for the land. She called the revocation a betrayal of "our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations." She expressed a similar sentiment to that conveyed by Patagonia's "The President Stole Your Land" social media campaign, stating that the decision is the largest removal of protected land in American history.
The $887 billion outdoor industry has been outspoken in its opposition to the order. The North Face announced it pledged $100,000 to one of the plaintiffs, nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa, to develop a Bears Ears Educational Center.
North Face President Arne Arens wrote in an article, "Beyond outdoor recreation, these lands are vitally important to the past and future of five Native American tribes that advocate tirelessly for their protection. Visitors to these places come face-to-face with 1,000-year-old cliff dwellings, ancient rock carvings and countless other signs that it was once home to a thriving civilization — a part of our collective history.”
Like Patagonia, REI also used its website to educate its customers about the effects of the decision. The company stated, "REI will not retreat from our strong belief that there is common ground in the outdoors." REI has not joined the lawsuit and is instead hoping to seek a bipartisan solution to land management.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal court in Washington D.C.
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