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#317304 - 01/06/09 02:27 PM Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift!
skippy Offline
"President Bush has given the earth a Texas sized-gift!"

Bush orders new protections for Pacific marine seascapes

Together with earlier moves, 355,000 square miles of islands, reefs, and atolls now have new safeguards.

A century after Teddy Roosevelt started preserving landmarks and landscapes as national monuments, President Bush has swept nearly 200,000 square miles of seascapes into three new national marine monuments around US Pacific territories.

The much-anticipated action this week follows a similar move two years ago along the northwest Hawaiian islands. Taken together, the two efforts extend tough environmental safeguards to 355,000 square miles of islands, reefs, atolls, and their surrounding waters. Those included in the latest announcement represent some of the most remote, pristine reef systems in the world.

The response from several environmental groups, long critical of the administration on a range of other issues, has been swift and effusive.

“The president has given the Earth a Texas-size gift,” says Diane Regas, who heads the oceans program for the Environmental Defense Fund in New York. Tuesday’s action “opens a new era in ocean protection.”

Others say they see the move as elevating marine conservation to a level of prominence long dominated by efforts to preserve land-based ecosystems.

The areas receiving the monument designation include:

• Rose Atoll, a ring of pink-hued coral near American Samoa.

• The Marianas Marine National Monument, which encompasses the three northernmost islands in the northern Marianas chain, as well as the entire length and breadth of the Mariana Trench – the deepest rift of any on the ocean floor.

• The Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, an array of seven remote islands and atolls in the central Pacific.

The designations prohibit commercial fishing within monument boundaries. Sport fishing, scientific research, and similar activities would require case-by-case permits showing, among other things, that the activities can be conducted sustainably.

The boundaries extend seaward to 50 miles, rather than the full 200 miles representing the country’s exclusive economic zone. Marine scientists specializing in corals, fish, and seabirds strongly favored extending protections beyond three miles. But there was far less agreement on the added value of extending protections beyond 50 miles, says James Connaughton, chairman of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

It’s similar to the boundaries around the northwest Hawaiian islands, now known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The line could shift as researchers learn more about the ecosystems involved, Mr. Connaughton suggests.

Another apparent oddity: Protections for the Mariana Trench extend only to the trench itself, not the waters above it. Connaughton notes that scientists were most interested in the geology of the trench and its surroundings, including undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, and the communities of unusual forms of life they support. The waters above the trench “weren’t relevant to the resources we wanted to protect,” he says.

The tight restrictions on sport fishing rankle some. “There is no scientific basis for prohibiting recreational angling in these areas,” says Mat Dunn of the National Marine Manufacturers Association in Washington, though he acknowledges that these ecosystems may be special.

Despite the enthusiastic response to Mr. Bush’s designations, analysts point to several challenges in managing the new monuments – a task that will fall to the Obama administration. Among them: interagency squabbles and the money needed to monitor activities in the remote monuments and enforce regulations.

Still, these don’t dampen the enthusiasm for Bush’s designations. “We see this as an outstanding act of presidential leadership,” says William Chandler of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute in Bellevue, Wash.

Thank you President Bush!
I hope that someday we can put aside our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

#317305 - 01/06/09 02:31 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: skippy]
papashine Offline
Now your all gonna feel guilty for not voting for him.
Reality..What a concept!

#317306 - 01/06/09 02:34 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: papashine]
skippy Offline
This good news thread is a no-BDS zone, papa!
I hope that someday we can put aside our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

#317309 - 01/06/09 02:44 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: papashine]
luv2golf Offline
I don't recall seeing his name on the ballot

#317316 - 01/06/09 03:05 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: luv2golf]
papashine Offline
True grin
Reality..What a concept!

#317327 - 01/06/09 04:06 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: luv2golf]
Rykat Offline
Damn, 3rd term woulda been nice!!! laugh smirk crazy
GOP - The Party of Lincoln.

#317334 - 01/06/09 04:44 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: Rykat]
azbob Offline
Excellent decision President Bush, sir!
"Hold on Tight To Your Dreams" ELO

#317345 - 01/06/09 06:02 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: azbob]
H20dog Offline
Mighty white for a redneck. The "trench" is too deep to be able to drill for oil!



Edited by H20dog (01/06/09 07:46 PM)
Edit Reason: friend of the enviornment my ass

#317365 - 01/06/09 08:05 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: H20dog]
KC Jayhawk Offline
snarky to the end, dog!!
When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.

#317372 - 01/06/09 08:28 PM Re: Bush has given the earth a Texas-sized gift! [Re: KC Jayhawk]
H20dog Offline
In 14 days America's worst nightmare will be loading up a U-Haul and leaving our lives.......it will be the happiest day of my life.
I'm a combat veteran who fought for my right to dissent, and I exercise that right freely. grin

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