US Politics

US official blasts Patagonia protests, calls for more land cuts

Patagonia's website following Donald Trump's Utah monument decision. Source: Patagonia

The US clothing company Patagonia replaced its website with a full-page protest over Donald Trump's order to reduce the size of Utah's monuments.

US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has blasted critics of the decision to reduce the size of Utah's public lands - including retailer Patagonia - and recommended Donald Trump makes further land cuts. 

The US president, acting on Mr Zinke's recommendations, controversially ruled on Monday that the size of two Utah public parks, referred to as monuments in the US, would be reduced by nearly two million acres.

Following the decision, Patagonia replaced its company website with a black screen and the message: "The President Stole Your Land".

"In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history," the statement said. 

Patagonia's website claims the company "has been in the fight to protect public lands for almost 30 years— and we are proud to have played a part in the establishment of several national monuments, including Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and Basin and Range and Gold Butte National Monuments in Nevada."

"We are also proud to stand alongside over 350 businesses, conservation groups and Native American tribes that have come together on this issue to protect public lands."

Clothing company REI also displayed a half-page online protest over the cuts, while social media users rallied behind Patagonia's political stand.

Mr Zinke took a swipe at Patagonia's ethics following their widely-publicised protest.

"You mean Patagonia made in China? This is an example of a special interest," he told reporters.

"I think it is shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to get money in their coffers."

Mr Zinke also called for further reductions to monuments in the West.

He said the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument straddling the border of Oregon and California and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada were both too big and should be reduced in size.

He also said Mr Trump should also consider changing the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments in the Pacific Ocean.

Lawsuit against decision

Patagonia has been part of the extensive battle alongside the outdoor recreation industry to protect monument land in the West from commercial use.

Alongside Indian Tribes, the company has been protecting the importance of the land so it won't be exploited for fossil fuel, development and cattle grazing.

Trump's monument reduction plan draws duelling rallies in Utah.
Trump's monument reduction plan draws duelling rallies in Utah.

Despite their best efforts, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument were reduced.

Since the decision, two lawsuits have been filed.

One lawsuit came from five tribes - Hopi, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Ute Indian.

The other lawsuit was a collection of environmental conservative groups - including the Grand Canyon Trust and Natural Resources Defence Council - against Mr Trump and Mr Zinke, according to The Washington Post.

The aforementioned lawsuit from the conservation groups claim Mr Trump cannot legally reduce the land's status.

- With Reuters

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