This summer, Patagonia launched a TV advertising buy for the first time ever in an effort to rally public support for public lands protection. About 1.7 million acres of land was declared protected under Proclamation 6920 by former President Bill Clinton on September 18, 1996, (Congress added more later) and Trump's Monday order reduces that to just over 1 million acres. "What it does authorize is broad discretion to the president who acts to protect brands establishing national monuments under the Antiquities Act".
Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight organizations on Monday, claiming the President violated the Antiquities Act, signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to preserve ruins or monuments on federal land.
"Trump's unprecedented, illegal action is a brutal blow to our public lands, an affront to Native Americans and a disgrace to the presidency", said Randi Spivak, the public lands program director at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity.
The conservation groups fighting the Monday proclamation allege that opening the monument areas to coal and hard-rock mining, oil and gas leasing and the development of roads, along with the use of off-road vehicles, will damage the protected areas, and therefore want its implementation barred.
"President Trump's decision, like many of his other decisions, demonstrates that this administration has a reckless disregard for the Constitution and the limits that it places on federal power", said Justin Pidot, counsel to the Native American Rights Fund, during a conference call with reporters.
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While President Trump explained that modifying these landmarks would open land up to citizens and American businesses, Patagonia and REI are arguing that this decision would instead deplete both national monuments, prevent people from using public lands for recreational activities and harm the prosperity of the US outdoor industry.
Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, May 11, 2017.
According to a lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Trump's controversial decision to strip 900,000 acres from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is an attempt to reverse President Clinton's 1996 decision to create the Monument. "In that light, we believe there is a compelling case to maintain the integrity of our existing national monuments".
If allowed to stand, both the proclamations issued by Trump will come into effect on the morning of February 2, 2018, 60 days after being notified.