President Bush hasn’t been the favorite president of the environmental movement: pushing for oil drilling in pristine areas, pushing for relaxation of air and water quality regulations, uranium mining at the edge of the Grand Canyon, removing scientists from the process of evaluating endangered species, and low investment in renewable energy resources.
A part of his environmental legacy has to include, however, his recent designation of large areas of the western Pacific Ocean as Marine National Monuments.
“[Environmentalists] do not dispute that Bush is the first president to protect significant swaths of U.S. territorial waters. The three new monuments will protect the Mariana Trench, the deepest canyon on Earth; coral reefs off the cost of the Mariana Islands; and an atoll known as “Islands of Seabirds” near American Samoa.” — Scientific American, World’s leading protector of the oceans? President Bush
The Republicans for Environmental Protection has had this notice on its website for a couple months, so the move came as no surprise:
“President Bush is considering designation of two very large marine national monuments before he leaves office on January 20, 2009. The monuments, in the western and central Pacific, would protect hundreds of millions of acres of marine habitat for coral reefs, marine mammals, migratory birds, and sea turtles. Designating the monuments would be a spectacular conservation legacy. Please contact the White House and urge President Bush to follow through on the marine monument proposals”
Grace and Peace
Update: The Sierra Club did mention this briefly on its The Green Life blog. They called it a surprise move, even though others saw it coming.
Update #2: USA Today: Bush to make Pacific’s Mariana Trench a national monument
Update #3: Grist (an environmental blog) gives Bush credit: Oceans of Praise