Press Release – Expansion of Marine National Monument Major Victory for Conservation

The Conservation Lands Foundation applauded today’s announcement of the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument by President Obama.

Brown boobies at Johnson Atoll

Brown boobies at Johnson Atoll

“In taking this action, President Obama has demonstrated the same bold leadership he has shown in protecting America’s mountains, rivers and forests,” said Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “This is a great conservation achievement that all Americans should celebrate.”

The near pristine reefs and waters surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands in the Central Pacific Ocean represent one of the last frontiers and havens for wildlife in the world. The waters are some of the richest areas on earth for ocean life, home to countless species of marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, corals and other marine life. Up to half the creatures that live there are found nowhere else on earth.

In expanding the protection around the seven atolls and islands included within the monument, the Administration has shown that conservation of America’s national resources and economic development can go hand in hand.

“At a time when our planet faces huge threats from clime change habitat loss we are encouraged that the president is facing these challenges head on,” stated O’Donnell.

The President used his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate the new monuments. This action came in response to overwhelming support from Native Hawaiian leaders, scientists, businesses, and conservation groups. More than 135,000 U.S. citizens sent messages of support to the White House during the public comment period.

Environmental conservation has a long bipartisan history in this country. The Grand Canyon was originally protected as a monument by President Theodore Roosevelt. Most recently, President Obama designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico in May.

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was originally protected in 2009, by President George W. Bush, who designated a total of four marine national monuments.

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