08/25/2008 - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in history.
Bush is considering conserving parts of the Northern Mariana islands in the western Pacific, as well as eight islands and coral reef atolls and their surrounding waters in the central Pacific that are part of the Line Islands and American Samoa.
The president signaled his intentions in a memo to members of his Cabinet and is now awaiting their advice on how to provide additional protection to the island chains. The archipelagos are home to a diverse array of fish, birds and other marine species that are rapidly vanishing elsewhere in the world, the memo said.
While an assortment of activities including commercial fishing, oil and gas exploration and deep sea mining could be allowed, barring extractive activities "would be one of the most significant environmental achievements" of any president, said Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group.
Read the full article Bush Proposes Protections for Pacific Islands, Atolls on the Associated Press' Web site.