Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

PR Smackdown: Outdoor Company and Washington Clash Openly Over Public Lands

Marc Toso
Courtesy: Patagonia
Reworking the year-old Bears Ears National Monument and the 21-year-old Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has deepened an argument between GOP leaders and outdoor companies like Patagonia.

The very public fight between the outdoor gear company, Patagonia, and public lands policymakers continued this week, when the company's founder rejected an offer to testify on Capitol Hill.

The company  filed suit shortly after the Trump administration shrunk specially protected areas what used to be the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. On Twitter, Patagonia declared: “The president stole your land.”

And the U.S. House Resources Committee, led by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, seemed to call for a boycott of Patagonia products, saying: “Patagonia is lying to you.”

Bishop’s invitation to the company’s founder last week acknowledged "his strong feelings on the topic" and asserted Congress was the proper place to discuss public lands.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard replied this week, describing Washington as "Orwellian" and "shackled to special interests of oil, gas and mining."

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.