Patagonia sues Trump to protect Utah national monuments

Patagonia sues Trump to protect Utah national monuments

Patagonia sues Trump to protect Utah national monuments

Trump signed proclamations to shrink Utah's Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante in the name of states' rights, prompting an outcry from critics who fear the uranium-rich land will be used for oil drilling, mining, and grazing.

The sites feature thousands of Native American artefacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and the wall-carvings known as petroglyphs. Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said this about Trump's proposal: "We will stand and fight all the way...[the United States government has already taken] millions of acres of my people's land". Nearly as soon as the reduction was announced, a deluge of lawsuits were filed on behalf of many involved in that fight - including one by a coalition of 10 conservation groups, and one by a coalition of five Native American Tribes.

But Mr Trump's decision to reduce the size of two of America's national monuments wasn't only met with public appeals from retailers. "I actually can not believe that we're having a debate about whether these lands are worth protecting", said Caputo.

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Conservation and national monuments go hand-in-hand.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, created by Bill Clinton in 1996, will be downsized from 1.9 million acres to 1 million acres. "There is nothing in the Antiquities Act that authorizes the president to modify a national monument once its designated", explained Ethel Branch, attorney general for the Navajo Nation.

Despite Trump's plans for the monuments, REI said it will continue to work with elected officials and outdoor industry members to protect the accessibility of these public lands. "We will use the power of the law to stop Trump's illegal actions".

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the lawsuit won't change the administration's decision.

"Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments".

Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, May 11, 2017.

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"The President and a handful of politicians would like you to believe that they are doing what is best by rescinding 85 percent of Bears Ears National Monument and almost half of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument", Marcario wrote. "In that light, we believe there is a compelling case to maintain the integrity of our existing national monuments".

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