Patagonia founder says he will sue to protect Utah monuments

Major outdoor retailers have come out in opposition to President Trump‘s announcement this week that he will shrink two national monuments in Utah.

Outdoor gear company Patagonia made its website go black after Trump’s announcement Monday, with only large text reading: “The President Stole Your Land.”

Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Choinard, also told CNN Tuesday that he plans to sue the administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument’s status.

“I think the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits,” Choinard told CNN.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday the threat of lawsuits wouldn’t change the administration’s decision and that special interest groups are using the issue to raise money. Zinke specifically said that Patagonia was lying when it said that the president “stole land,” saying that no land that was part of the monument will be removed from federal jurisdiction.

“The argument that somehow President Trump stole land is nefarious, false, and a lie,” Zinke said on a call with reporters Tuesday.

A climbing advocacy group called the Access Fund has also said it plans to sue the administration.

Businesses that rely on travel to the monuments are worried about what this decision will mean for them, Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director Amy Roberts told ABC News. The association represents more than 1,200 businesses in the outdoor industry around the country, and Roberts said Utah has benefited greatly from having national monuments and parks. Business owners are worried that changing the monuments’ status will lead to fewer people traveling to the area or opening new businesses there, she added.

“People are attracted to areas that have a special status,” Roberts said.

Roberts said members of the Outdoor Industry Association asked for their major trade show to be moved out of Utah after state lawmakers passed resolutions asking for the monument status for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to be changed. That event, scheduled for January, will be now be held in Colorado.

The CEO of Patagonia, Rose Marcario, wrote in a TIME column today that they are suing in part because the changes will hurt the company’s business.

“Patagonia’s business relies directly on public lands, like Indian Creek in Bears Ears, which hosts world-class climbing,” Marcario wrote.

She added that the company has an obligation to confront environmental threats and stand with partner organizations in…

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