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Biden announces creating marine sanctuary southwest of Hawaii

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Conservation in Action Summit at the Department of the Interior in Washington. Biden announced the measures today.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Conservation in Action Summit at the Department of the Interior in Washington. Biden announced the measures today.

President Joe Biden today announced that his administration would be initiating a process of considering the designation of the waters of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands as a national marine sanctuary — a move that was advocated by a number of leaders and conservation experts in Hawaii last year.

Among them was U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, who applauded the president’s action today.

“These waters are among the last pristine marine environments on our Earth, and also the most fragile,” said Case in a news release. “Our world’s oceans are at mortal risk, a breaking point precipitated by the unsustainable overfishing and other resource extraction, debris and land-based pollution, exacerbated and compounded by the devastating and pervasive marine effects of climate change.”

The Pacific Remote Islands Monument area consists of approximately 495,189 square miles of Central Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of seven islands and atolls: Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Island; Johnston, Wake, and Palmyra Atoll; and Kingman Reef.

Parts of U.S. Pacific Remote Islands waters were designated as a National Marine Monument by then-President George Bush in 2009 and expanded by then-President Barrack Obama in 2014.

Case, working with the Pacific Remote Islands Coalition in Hawaii, has urged the designation of the waters surrounding all of the Pacific Remote Islands to the full extent of their exclusive economic zone as a new sanctuary, especially for the currently unprotected waters surrounding Howland and Baker Islands, Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef.

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