The outdoor retailer Patagonia is suing the Trump administration for rescinding 85 percent of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, the Associated Press reports.
President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation Monday announcing his intent to shrink and break up Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Patagonia’s lawsuit is one of several meant to block the monuments’ reduction.
Patagonia argues that Trump’s act is an “extreme overreach in authority,” according to the AP.
Bears Ears, originally around 1.35 million acres, will be reduced to about 200,000 acres under Trump’s plan. Former President Barack Obama designated the monument in December 2016, weeks before his final term in office ended.
Utah’s congressional delegation was outspokenly against Bears Ears when Obama designated it under authority from the 1906 Antiquities Act.
“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said at the time, according to The Atlantic. “I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people of Utah and undo this designation.”
National monuments have been reduced by presidents before, but the power of the president to reduce one has not been challenged in court. The Antiquities Act doesn’t explicitly say one way or the other if the president is allowed to shrink a national monument or not.
“Nothing in the poorly drafted and extremely deferential text of the Antiquities Act overcomes the presumption that the power to act includes the power to reverse course, even of a prior President,” Chapman University School of Law Associate Dean for Research and Professor Donald Kochan told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
Earthjustice, an environmental group that has filed a lawsuit each over Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, argues that Trump must have explicit authority from Congress before he is allowed to reduce any national monument.
“Nearly three million Americans voiced their support for national monuments during Trump’s monument review, but he chose to ignore both the American people and the letter of the law to cater to the extractive industries who would gut our natural wonders,” Earthjustice attorney Heidi McIntosh said in a statement.
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