The founder and owner of outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia rejected an invitation from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop to testify before the congressional panel to talk about the company’s opposition to President Trump’s rollback of two national monuments in Utah.
Yvon Chouinard, in a biting letter to the Utah Republican on Tuesday, called the invite “disingenuous” and pointless and accused the Natural Resources Committee of acting in cahoots with an “Orwellian government” at the behest of the energy industry.
“I find it disingenuous that after unethically using taxpayers’ resources to call us liars, you would ask me to testify in front of a committee for a matter already decided by the administration and applauded by the Utah delegation just a week ago, a macabre celebration of the largest reduction in public lands in American history,” Chouinard said.
“It is clear the House Committee on Natural Resources, like many committees in this Orwellian government, is shackled to special interests of oil, gas, and mining, and will seek to sell off our public lands at every turn and continue to weaken or denigrate Theodore Roosevelt’s Antiquities Act, which has preserved our treasured public lands for over 100 years,” he added.
“We have little hope you are acting in good faith with this invitation. Our positions are clear and public and we encourage you to read them.”
Patagonia sued the Trump administration this month for shrinking the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and the company’s owner, Chouinard, has publicly feuded with the president and Bishop's committee.
“The committee believes that major public policy decisions involving millions of acres of public land should be discussed, debated, and considered in the light of day,” Bishop said Friday in a letter to Chouinard inviting him to testify. “The committee also believes it is important to understand and allow for all perspectives to be presented fairly and respectfully. It is apparent that you have strong feelings on the topic as well.”
Shortly after Trump visited Utah on Dec. 4 to announce the shrinking of the monuments, Patagonia replaced its homepage on its website with a black slate reading: "The President Stole Your Land."
"In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments," Patagonia's website also said in smaller font. "This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history."
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke responded, saying it was "shameful" that Patagonia would "blatantly lie."