Outdoor retailer Patagonia joins lawsuit to block Trump

Outdoor retailer Patagonia joins lawsuit to block Trump

- in Business
10

SALT LAKE CITY — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and outdoor retail giant Patagonia traded harsh words over the Trump administration’s plans to shrink several national monuments, an opening salvo in an imminent legal battle that could be waged for years.

A barrage of lawsuits is expected by groups looking to block President Donald Trump’s order on Monday drastically reducing Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Three lawsuits had been filed by Tuesday night, with more expected Wednesday.

Trump said he was reversing federal overreach by drastically cutting the sprawling monuments named by Democratic presidents. But tribal leaders, environmentalists and others argue the president doesn’t have that authority and his move jeopardizes a wealth of Native American artifacts, dinosaur fossils and rugged spaces.

Patagonia, which is expected to file a lawsuit by Wednesday, replaced its usual home page with a stark message, “The President Stole Your Land.”The California-based company called Trump’s actions illegal and described Monday’s action as the largest elimination of protected land in American history.

Zinke shot back, calling that “nefarious, false and a lie.” He told reporters that the land targeted by Trump remains protected because it is still under federal control.

“I understand fundraising for these special interest groups,” Zinke said. “I think it’s shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to gain money in their coffers.”

Related: Trump cutting national monuments sets up environmental showdown

Outdoor retailer REI also criticized Trump but in less harsh language.

Zinke took a defiant tone in a conference call with reporters, saying, “I don’t yield to pressure, only higher principle. And sound public policy is not based on threats of lawsuits, it’s doing what’s right.”

Patagonia has “always viewed public lands as our special interest,” said company spokeswoman Corley Kenna. “And it’s odd that Ryan Zinke has no problem with special interests when they’re paying for his private jets. We have been fighting for these lands for decades, so that hunters, fishers, hikers and everyone else can use them and help us protect them.”




Image: A full moon sets behind Cedar Mesa, which is within Bears Ears National Monument, near Mexican Hat

A full moon sets behind Cedar Mesa, which is within Bears Ears National Monument, near Mexican Hat, Utah on Nov. 14, 2016.