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Rob Bishop says Patagonia owner 'living in a bubble' by refusing to testify on monument rollbacks

010518 Rob Bishop Blasts Patagonia pic
"It is unfortunate you continue to shield yourself from competing viewpoints," the House Natural Resources Committee chairman wrote to Yvon Chouinard. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop criticized the founder of clothing retailer Patagonia on Friday for refusing to testify before the panel about the company’s opposition to President Trump’s rollback of two national monuments in Utah.

“In my 15 years of congressional service I have found most people jump at the opportunity to share their views before Congress – at least those who are confident their positions can survive public scrutiny,” the Utah Republican said in a letter to Yvon Chouinard. “Admittedly, your company press releases, letters, and op-eds outline your positions on various public land issues. They reveal an approach to corporate activism derived from within a limited ideological bubble. They appear to reflect a worldview of someone who rarely, if ever, encounters people with different viewpoints. It is unfortunate you continue to shield yourself from competing viewpoints.”

Chouinard, in a biting letter to the Bishop last month, called the invite to testify “disingenuous” and pointless and accused the Natural Resources Committee of acting in cahoots with an “Orwellian government” at the behest of the energy industry.

Patagonia sued the Trump administration for shrinking the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and Chouinard has publicly feuded with the president and Bishop's committee.

Shortly after Trump visited Utah 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 type. "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."

Bishop on Friday stood by his invitation for Chouinard to express his concerns to Congress.

“Although it is your right, living in a bubble isn’t healthy, nor is it conducive to a robust discussion on important matters of public policy,” Bishop said. “If at any time you change your mind about appearing in a public setting for an open and transparent discussion, please consider this my standing invitation.”