The billionaire founder of the American clothing company Patagonia said in a clip aired Monday that the United States government is "evil" for seeking to shrink the size of national monuments in Utah.
Yvon Chouinard told CNN correspondent Bill Weir that the planet is at stake and lambasted the Trump administration specifically for seeking to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument, among others. He is "ready for a long legal fight" against the federal government and Utahns who want to tap local resources.
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"We're losing this planet, and we have an evil government," Chouinard said. "Not just the federal government—the wacko politicians out of Utah and places. I mean, it's evil."
"I'm not going to stand back and just let evil win," he added.
San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman expressed his support for shrinking the monuments to let Utahns use more of the land for development than environmental tourism. He told CNN that he wants to protect the areas in question, and that existing regulations already do so, but pointed out that tourists descending on these monuments can also create problems.
"What's his net worth? A billion dollars, two billion dollars?" Lyman asked. "So you've got Patagonia here waving the flag of environmentalism while he is just completely exploiting the outdoors for industrialized tourism."
Chouinard donated thousands to Democratic congressional candidates and organizations such as ActBlue in 2016, which he has done in almost every election year since 2000, according to CampaignMoney.com. Since 2000, the only non-Democratic candidates who he has supported financially are presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004 (first with the Green Party, then as an independent) and a Republican endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, Christopher Shays, in 2004.
Chouinard has long supported the League of Conservation Voters and other environmental organizations, and Patagonia led a 2016 voter registration campaign called "Vote Our Planet."
Last year, the New Yorker declared that Chouinard has "turned his eco-conscious, anti-corporate ideals into the credo of a successful clothing company."
Now Chouinard is considering how to bring his influence into the legal realm.
"I think the only thing this administration understand is lawsuits," he said.