Days after pushing product at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Utah, a number of industry executives aim to push policy.
More than 100 leaders from top brands this week sent an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging his incoming administration to protect public lands.
“We strongly oppose any proposal, current or future, that devalues or compromises the integrity of our national public lands,” said the letter, signed by Outdoor Industry Association executive director Amy Roberts. “Yet as the 115th Congress begins, efforts are underway that threaten to undermine over 100 years of public investment, stewardship and enjoyment of our national public lands. Stated simply, these efforts would be bad for the American people. They include the potential of national public lands being privatized or given to states who might sell them to the highest bidder. This would unravel courageous efforts by leaders from across the political spectrum up to the present day, including Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.”
The outdoor industry, which contributes $650 billion a year to the U.S. economy and employs more than 6 million, rarely “unites as an industry,” but felt it was important to take a stand.
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The letter — signed by executives such as VF Corp.’s Steve Rendle, REI’s Jerry Stritzke, New Balance’s Rob DeMartini and Brooks Running’s Jim Weber — comes at a pivotal moment.
President-elect Trump has said at times climate change is “a hoax.”
What’s more, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, this week testified at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.
In a National Review editorial last year, Pruitt, who has had multiple lawsuits against the EPA, said global warming “is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
For the OIA, its aim was to tone down the some of the political rhetoric, making a general case to protect the outdoors.
“This is not a red or blue issue,” the letter said. “It is an issue that affects our shared freedoms. Public lands should remain in public hands.”