US outdoor clothing giant Patagonia is among a broad coalition of Native American, conservation, and historic preservation organisations, outdoor industry, scientists, and outdoor recreationists suing the Trump Administration in a move designed to strike down the President’s “extreme overreach of authority” in revoking the Bears Ears National Monument.
The legal action follows two proclamations issued by President Trump’s last week to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah – Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante – in what is the “largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history”, according to The New York Times .
In both proclamations, Trump quotes the Antiquities Act, passed in 1906, which requires lands that are part of a monument be confined to the “smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects of historic or scientific interest to be protected.”
The President reduced the boundary of the Bears Ears National Monument by 85%, or 1.15m acres, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante by more than 50%, or 861,974 acres.
Earlier this year, Patagonia was one of a number of brands to withdraw from the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah in protest at the state government’s public land policy. The outdoor retailer said Trump did not support public lands conservation nor value the economic benefits – US$12bn in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs – the outdoor recreation industry brings to the state.
In a statement issued this week, the coalition said the President’s proclamation is “contrary to law, ignores overwhelming public support for the original monument designation, and dishonours Native American heritage and culture.”
The plaintiffs — Patagonia Works, 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 — filed the complaint in federal court in Washington, DC.
“Sixteen presidents have used the Antiquities Act to designate 157 national monuments since 1906 to preserve our unique and treasured places from destruction,” the statement reads. “President Trump’s proclamation is the first time any president has attempted to abolish a monument established by a previous president and amounts to the largest elimination of protected areas in American history. By revoking national monument status for 85% of the area protected by the Bears Ears National Monument, President Trump has removed legal protections for many well-known and widely-revered historic, scientific, and cultural areas.”
The group claims Trump made the decision without visiting Bears Ears or meeting with tribal leaders, and that despite his claim that his decision represents the will of the people, the decision “only advances the interests of a few, at the expense of many”.
It adds: “The Administration received over 3m public comments this summer, and over 98% of those comments favoured keeping the Bears Ears National Monument intact.”
President and CEO of Patagonia, Rose Marcario, said: “Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration’s unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments. The Administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we’ll continue that fight in the courts.”
The move follows Patagonia’s comments earlier this year that it would be prepared to take legal action against President Trump for failing to preserve historic public lands after the President signed an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review all national monuments designated since 1996.