Patagonia has joined a coalition of Native American and conservation groups now suing President Trump in a bid to keep the boundary lines of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.
The lawsuit, filed in district court in Washington D.C., had been expected after President Trump’s announcement and signing of two proclamations Monday that shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, also in Utah. The lawsuit is related only to the Bears Ears monument.
Bears Ears, which totals 1.5 million acres and includes a number of ruins, received its designation last year by President Obama. With Trump’s decision, the designation area would be reduced and broken in two monuments totaling 228,784 acres.
The modified boundary lines follow an Interior Department review of national monuments that received their designations under the Antiquities Act starting from 1996 and totaling more than 100,000 acres.
“Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump Administration’s unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments,” Patagonia president and chief executive officer Rose Marcario said in a statement Wednesday. “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 group of plaintiffs in the lawsuit also include Conservation Lands Foundation Inc., Utah Diné Bikéyah, Friends of Cedar Mesa, Archaeology Southwest, The Access Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The collective is asking for a judge to order the President’s proclamation unlawful. The group argues in its lawsuit the President went beyond the scope of his authority under the Antiquities Act, created by Theodore Roosevelt, and that while the law gives a sitting President the authority to create national monuments, it does not also come with the power to alter designations after the fact. Attorneys for the group argue the power to do the latter falls on Congress.
Within the industry, Patagonia has been one of several companies vocal on the matter since the President’s executive order of the review. The company’s interest in Bears Ears goes back further with Patagonia pointing out in the lawsuit its customers, sponsored athletes and employees frequent the monument. The company led efforts in 2013 to preserve the land via various campaigns and meetings with state and federal officials. Patagonia said in the complaint it will “suffer direct and immediate injury from the revocation of the designation” on the basis that it infringes on its ability to fulfill its obligations as a certified benefit corporation.
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