The U. S. is frequently criticized for being a relentlessly dastardly polluter of the Planet. However, we do have our environmentally heroic accomplishments. The United States’ Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is not a steel-and concrete structure. Rather, it is the largest land and marine reserve in the world, which was significantly expanded by presidential executive order in September 2014.
In 2006, President George W. Bush created the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in northwestern Hawaii. In 2009, President Bush declared our remote Pacific islands “The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.” In late September 2014, President Obama expanded the Monument southward and westward.
The Monument now encompasses more than 490,000 square miles, including Pacific islands and waters out to 12 nautical miles from them. The islands are: Baker Island and Howland Island, approximately mid-way between Hawaii and Australia; Jarvis Island, approximately mid-way between Hawaii and the Cook Islands; Johnston Atoll, approximately 1/3 of the distance between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands; Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, approximately mid-way between Hawaii and American Samoa; and Wake Island, north of the Marshall Islands.
The Monument protects birds, trees, grasses, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, pearl oysters, seals, giant clams, coconut crabs, fish, other marine life and coral reefs up to 5,000 years old. Consequently, federal law bans destruction or extraction of resources, dumping wastes and commercial fishing, though it allows research, recreation and free passageways through the monument.
By preserving these U. S. areas, the farthest from any other U. S. population area, America hopes to preserve species that are rapidly disappearing from other parts of the earth, provide ideal laboratories for studying such phenomena as climate change without directly affecting humans and learn proper stewardship of the life and resources on and around the islands.
Pictures and other information about this remarkable achievement can be accessed here:
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
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