08/25/2008 - President Bush today signaled his intention to protect some of the Pacific Ocean's most remote and unspoiled islands, atolls and coral reefs from fishing and deep sea mining, asking federal officials to work out the details.
A final decision, expected to be wrapped up before Bush leaves office, could vastly expand the protected marine areas around islands in the central and western Pacific under jurisdiction of the United States.
Bush's proposal includes protecting portions of the northern Mariana Islands, Rose Atoll in American Samoa and various islands and reefs in the Central Pacific, including Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Johnston Atoll, Jarvis Island, Howland Island, Baker Island, and Wake Island.
Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, said that designating these areas as a monument or marine sanctuary does not necessarily mean that they will be fully protected and still could allow destructive fishing or mining. "However, if the president establishes these new sites as no-take reserves, where no extractive activity is allowed, it would be one of the most significant environmental achievements of any U.S. president."
Read the full article Bush Proposes Protections for Pacific Islands, Atolls on Greenspace from The Los Angeles Times' Web site.