Washington, D.C. — The Barack Obama administration is expected to announce today its intent to dramatically expand the size of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Ahead of the administration’s announcement, Carol M. Browner, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a member of the Global Oceans Commission, issued the following statement:
Our oceans are feeling the strain of human activity from increased acidification, overfishing, and pollution, and we need to take bold action to protect this vital natural resource. This action from President Obama will vastly expand the protected waters and preserve this delicate ecosystem for future generations and will set a standard of preservation for other nations to follow.
Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
These tiny, remote Pacific islands and atolls were some of the last places on the planet to feel the pressure and weight of human feet. Today’s anticipated bold action by President Obama will minimize the future impact of the footprint of human activity on some of the world’s most pristine and resilient ocean ecosystems.
The monument, first established by President George W. Bush in 2008, currently encompasses the ocean out to about 50 miles from the shores of small, uninhabited U.S. territories in the south Pacific, including Wake Island; Howland and Baker Islands; Johnston and Kingman Atolls; and Kingman Reef. President Obama’s expected proposal would push the boundaries out to the full 200-mile extent of the U.S. exclusive economic zone. The action will increase the monument’s size by roughly a factor of 10 and more than double the total amount of the world’s oceans contained in protected areas.
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