Stab Magazine | Patagonia Is Threatening To Sue The Trump Administration
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Patagonia Is Threatening To Sue The Trump Administration

Grab them by the Antiquities Act of 1906.

news // May 1, 2017
Words by James Royce
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here we go again. Some untraditional, albeit important, industry news for the day starring everyone’s favourite sentient controversy. Last Wednesday, President Donald Trump penned an executive order that instructed a review of two dozen US national monuments. Which would either rescind or modify monuments larger than 100,000 acres. 

“I’ve spoken with many state and local leaders, a number of them here today who care very much about preserving our land, and who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab,” Trump said in regards to the land previously put aside and protected as national monuments. “And now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place.”

Why should we be concerned, you ask? Well, this order would affect the California Coastal National Monument. Located along the entire California coastline, this monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings within 12 nautical miles of the shore. Picturesque surf spots, diverse ecosystems and clean water that was once protected by law but now has the chance to be threatened by logging, oil drilling, commercial fishing and urban development.

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Oliver Kurtz spinning above Big Sur, a protected patch of coastal California that is now at risk of development. Photo: Peter Taras.

With monuments like the California Coastal National Monument, alongside many others, now at risk, many individuals and groups are up in arms. Including hyper environmentally conscious brand Patagonia. After Trump signed his latest executive order, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario went public with a statement condemning the president’s actions:

“A president does not have the authority to rescind a national monument,” she said. “An attempt to change the boundaries ignores the review process of cultural and historical characteristics and the public input. We’re watching the Trump administration’s actions very closely and preparing to take every step necessary, including legal action, to defend our most treasured public landscaped from coast to coast.”

While the president framed the order as a way to return power to states and individuals, after former President Barack Obama and those before him blocked development on hundreds of acres of federal land and water by creating and protecting various monuments, Marcario thinks his motives are much more sinister.

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Beautiful backdrop, isn’t it? Eli Steele enjoying a pristine California pocket free of track homes and golf courses. Hopefully, it can stay that way. Photo: Matt O’Brien.

“We take this as a sign that Trump and his team prefer to cater to fossil fuel interests and state land grabs for unsuitable development,” she continued. “As stewards of America’s federal public lands, the Trump administration has an obligation to protect these most special wild places. Unfortunately, it seems clear they intend to do the opposite.”

Trump is citing the Antiquities Act of 1906 as justification for his actions. Originally established by US President Theodore Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act states that presidents have the authority to create national monuments on federal lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scenic features. And while recent legal research suggests presidents can adjust lands previously established by their formers, they can’t outright abolish them.

Malloy Bros

Patagonia ambassadors Keith (by Richard Freeman), Chris (by Scott Soens), and Dan (by Scott Soens) Malloy are no strangers to California’s pristine coastline, having grown up and surfed in and around every protected cove and islet there is to offer.

Which is why many environmental groups and brands, such as Patagonia, believe Trump’s order can’t be justified, as it’s grounded in a gross misinterpretation of the act itself. Hence why they’re calling his decision unconstitutional altogether while also threatening further legal action.

Patagonia has vowed to fight the White House to preserve national monuments, like the California Coastal National Monument, tooth and nail. So if you’re a California surfer, and enjoy the occasional secluded surf outside the city, you can thank them for making sure those experiences (hopefully) stay bereft of construction noise and general urban pandemonium.

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