Bush goes green by creating blue sanctuaries

Yesterday afternoon marked an unprecedented day for marine lovers around the world. Bush announced the creation of three marine monuments that are protected under the Antiquities Act, which was created a century ago to safeguard areas of public interest. In this case, this new treaty places important restrictions on oil and gas exploration as well as commercial fishing for an area that covers close to 200,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s a breakdown of the three major areas that have been declared as protected marine sanctuaries by Bush’s newest water treaty:

  • The northern Marianas Islands and the Mariana Trench (the deepest point in the world)
  • The Rose Atoll near American Samoa
  • Several remote islands in the middle of the Pacific, including Wake Island

These monuments make up a 50-nautical mile radius of protected islands and waters around the Mariana Trench and are full of marine life including sharks and coral, which are most crucial to a healthy ecosystem, as well as unique creatures found only in this part of the world such as the coconut crab and a bird whose eggs incubate by way of volcanic heat. The protected marine area will therefore inevitably become a bird sanctuary as well. In addition, it will

Back in 2006, Bush established a near 140,000 square-mile marine reserve (one of the largest in the world) near the Hawaiian islands, so this is his second good ocean deed in one term. Collectively, this is the most ocean a single person has protected. That’s a pretty admirable feat for a President who hasn’t been particularly green. Certainly, ocean lovers like myself fully appreciate Bush’s final environmental gesture. It’s something we will be thankful for for years to come.

[via the Washington Post and Time Magazine]