Zinke Illegally Shrinks National Monuments, Patagonia Contends

In a move outside of the corporate sphere and into the world of advocacy and activism the sustainable outdoor clothing company Patagonia has called out President Trump and Secretary Ryan Zinke for their unprecedented move to shrink National Monuments.

Patagonia posted this statement as the cover of their company website today as a bold move that stands in defiance to the administration and Secretary Ryan Zinke’s National Monuments reduction.

“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.” 

Secretary Zinke did make time to respond to Patagonia even though he had not made time in the last four months to discuss to his secretive national monuments review. He made some petty remarks that did nothing to help his reputation in Montana or aid the reputation of Montana on a national scale which he has embarrassed with scandals this year. He called Patagonia a special interest group and they responded by saying:

“Secretary Zinke’s definition of a special interest is someone who hasn’t flown him around on a private jet. We have been fighting for these lands for decades, so that hunters, fishers, hikers and everyone else can use them and help us protect them,” Patagonia spokeswoman Corley Kenna told The Hill on Tuesday.

An antiquities act legal scholar stated in this Outside Magazine article:

The monuments review has triggered a similar outpouring, drawing millions of comments in support of keeping these protected areas as they are. But Zinke remains unfazed. At Glacier, I asked him what Teddy Roosevelt would think of his actions in this arena.

“I think Teddy would be horrified that monuments would be used to prevent rather than protect,” he said, meaning to prevent consumptive uses. “And I think Roosevelt would be horrified that monuments in excess of 1.5 million acres would be used as a political tool.”

As predicted these first two reductions merely paved the way for the next attacks on our public lands and were merely the first salvo in what will be a four-year long war against the protections of special places put in place over the last century and a half.

The Washington Post reports that Secretary Zinke has decided to further shrink our access to National Monuments and public lands beyond the initial two monument reductions,

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday called on President Trump to shrink a total of four national monuments and change the way six other land and marine sites are managed, a sweeping overhaul of how protected areas are maintained in the United States.

Zinke supports cutting Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou, though the exact reductions are still being determined. He also would revise the proclamations for those and the others to clarify that certain activities are allowed.

The additional monuments affected include Northeast Canyons and Seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean; both Rose Atoll and the Pacific Remote Islands in the Pacific Ocean; New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte, and Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters.

The Washington Post continues

The administration is already facing multiple lawsuits over the president’s decision Monday to scale back both Bears Ears, a sacred tribal site designated last year by former president Barack Obama, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, a reservoir of prehistoric fossils Bill Clinton established in 1996.

If Zinke will shrink National Monuments like this in a secretive, possibly illegal process it makes you questions his motives and allegiances.

Is Zinke just a Trump lackey who is doing whatever the scandal-plagued President asks? 

Or is Zinke leading the charge against our public lands?

I don’t know which is scarier, Zinke as a man without the ability to stand up to Trump or Zinke a man who wants to destroy our public lands as his first major act on the national stage.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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