This headline seems about as probable as "Lincoln Buys Slaves For Plantation" or "Reagan Switches to Communist Party," but it's not April 1st, so... here you have it.From the Los Angeles Times:
"President Bush today will create the world's largest marine protected area, a total of 140,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean surrounding a necklace of islands and atolls that stretch from the main Hawaiian Islands to Midway Atoll and beyond, senior administration officials said."
The Honolulu Advertiser also has a good article.
I wonder if this will help his approval rating?
It's extremely appropriate that this should occur during the annual U.N. conference on oceans and the law of the sea. I shall have to go chat with the U.S. delegation and applaud this decision. :)
Update: A colleague who used to be a member of the Australian delegation pointed out that while the Northwest Hawaiian Islands National Monument is significant larger in area than the Great Barrier Reef marine protected area, it's not as large as the Macquarie Island marine park. Most search results indicate the GBR is the largest, but Macquarie actually covers a larger area. So I updated the title. That said, the NWHINM looks like it will eventually be "no-take," and for a protected area that large to completely ban "extractive uses" is a very, very big deal.