HONOLULU -- President Bush actually did something good for the ocean environment today and designated a big marine 'reserve' National Monument across 1200 miles of the NW Hawaiian Islands in the mid-Pacific.
Must not be any oil, gas, or developable lands there.
The move generally pleased Hawaiian officials and most conservation groups, even though commercial fishing could still be allowed for 5 more damaging years, stalling full protection of coral reefs and endangered species like the monk seal seen here.
Big commercial fishing may fight conservation and monument status, which could be undone by congress. Global warming pollution, which Bush is doing little to nothing about, remains a huge threat here and worldwide to coral reef ecosystems.
Another big concern is the poor record of the Bush administration on actual management of national monuments. Places like Grand Canyon-Parashant and Sonoran Desert National Monuments in Arizona have been neglected and abused under this president.
Nevertheless, Bush should be thanked for this move, and then be watched and pushed to ensure full funding and protection for this and all national monuments.
Interestingly, the designation embraces the 'buyout concept' for fishing permits, a similar proposal is being advanced to help retire damaging livestock grazing on arid public lands.