President Bush today will designate some 195,280 miles of Pacific territory as national monuments–protected from energy extraction and commercial fishing. The action is reportedly the largest marine conservation effort in history.
The designation is for three distinct areas, which include islands and the Mariana trench–the deepest spot on earth at 36,000 feet below sea level.
"These locations are truly among the last pristine areas in the marine environment on Earth," said James Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The designation is one of the few bright spots on the Bush administration’s environmental record.
"We and others in the environmental community have been at odds with this administration on lots of things, but if one looks at this one event it is a significant conservation event," said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, which lobbied for the marine designations.
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