Don’t let President Trump steal our land

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

Hey, you with the Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover.  Do you know anything about that fleece you are wearing besides the fact that seemingly every third person walking around this campus has one on too?

This week, the company that makes the fleece jacket we all know very well on this campus is standing to fight against more than just our cold and windy weather.

This past week, Patagonia announced their plan to file a lawsuit against the Federal administration after President Trump rolled back the protections of two million acres of land in Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

These lands that are losing federal protection will be the largest loss of protected land in the history of this country. The lands in questions are home to over 100,000 archaeological sites with specific significance to the Inter-Tribal Coalition. The land will now be able to be sold to private companies to be used for mining, logging and oil extracting.

Trump and his administration have said that keeping these lands protected by the federal government stops local leaders from controlling the land. And some people question whether Patagonia is only interested in this display to make sure they don’t lose the potential for outdoor adventurists to take their products to these places. And perhaps the biggest argument is that we need more land in America for oil and gas.  

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However, the businesses, conservationists, Native-American tribes and adventurists argue that the utmost consideration should be to ensure that not only current populations have access to these lands and all they provide, but future generations do as well. In the past, when land has been taken out of federal control, up to 70 percent of the land was sold to private interest groups. The outdoor recreation industry hosts 7.6 million jobs and over 800 billion dollars in consumer spending each year.  

There is only 10 percent of land protected in this country where oil and gas development cannot happen, and the other 90 percent are available for those industries. There are currently more than 7,500 locations of federal land approved for drilling where nothing is happening.

Patagonia did not make headlines this week for their own self interest.  Every year they donate one percent of their sales to environmental activism. At the end of 2017, that number will be close to 10 million dollars.

Before getting caught up in the numbers and the industries, go online and look at the images of these national monuments before and after the announced land cuts. Try to visualize just what losing two million acres of protected lands looks like.  

Be aware of what is being debated not only for your own knowledge, but understand the future ramifications for the natural land of this country to be preserved.

Be glad you have your Patagonia fleece to keep you warm in this weather, and before you go and buy the newest pattern, check out the resources available to you to take action to protect the lands of this country.

Hayley is a junior in ACES.

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