Money Matters

Billionaire Owner of Outdoor Apparel Brand Patagonia Plans To Sue Trump

(Source: www.forbes.com)

“The President Stole Your Land. In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.” So reads the now black frontpage of outdoor gear and apparel company Patagonia.

It’s a strong message delivered by a passionate billionaire who built his company and made his fortune his own way, largely by consistently touting a message of environmental conservation.

Patagonia’s owner, Yvon Chouinard, has made clear his opposition to President Trump’s decision to sharply reduce federally protected land in Utah by some two million acres.

Patagonia

In addition to changing his company’s homepage, Chouinard told CNN on Tuesday morning that he plans to take the White House to court. “I’m going to sue him,” Chouinard said. “It seems the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits.”

The administration’s decision, announced on December 4, to withdraw support of those Utah lands would dramatically reduce the sizes of Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about 46%.  These two monuments, both of which became federally protected under Democratic presidents, are being abandoned due to what the Trump administration calls “a lack of significance.”

“Some of the objects … are not unique to the monument, and some of the particular examples of these objects within the monument are not significant scientific or historic interest,” reads the administration’s order, known as the “Presidential Proclamation Modifying the Bears Ears National Monument.” A similarly-titled “Presidential Proclamation” was also released for Grand Staircase-Escalante.

President Trump further explained his decision during remarks at the Utah State Capitol on December 4, citing “harmful and unnecessary restrictions on hunting, ranching and responsible economic development” as the reasons for this proclamation.

Bear Ears became federally protected under the Obama administration during the last few days of his presidency in December 2016, while Grand Staircase-Escalante received the same status in September 1996 when Clinton was president.

Other outdoor retailers including REI and North Face also adjusted their homepages to show their opposition to the administration’s proclamation. North Face’s homepage includes a link to a Kickstarter page to raise $100,000 for the Bear Ears Education Center.  At the time of publication, the Kickstarter page had already crossed the $100,000 line.

Chouinard appeared on Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires list for the first time last year with a personal net worth of $1 billion. He founded Patagonia as a climbing equipment startup with the main goal of financing his mountain adventures. The company, which almost went bankrupt in the 1970s, is known for adopting sustainable practices including using recycled plastic bottles as fabric. The company has also been fighting to protect public lands for years and says it helped establish several monuments, including Bears Ears. In 2015, the company’s sales reached $750 million.

“We strongly oppose being included on this list,” a spokeswoman of Patagonia told Forbes at the time.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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