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June 15, 2006

Preserve This

Here's another feather in Bush's cap, in my humble opinion:

Bush creates world’s biggest ocean preserve:

President Bush on Thursday created the world's largest marine protected area — a group of remote Hawaiian islands that cover 84 million acres and are home to 7,000 species of birds, fish and marine mammals, at least a quarter of which are unique to Hawaii.

At a White House ceremony, the president designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands the United States' 75th national monument. The islands have been described as "America's Galapagos" and as the most intact tropical marine region under U.S. jurisdiction.

“To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park,” Bush said. “It’s larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal.”

Excellent. Hey, I spend enough time banging on the man when he does something I think is bad. I don't mind spending a moment or two noting when I think he's done something good.

Posted by john at June 15, 2006 04:21 PM

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Comments

Bobarino | June 15, 2006 04:26 PM

And it's not like praising Bush for the good he's done is going to eat up a lot of your time.

Steve Brady | June 15, 2006 04:40 PM

I don't understand! My crazy Bush-hating liberal mind can't find the bad here! Where is it? It must be there somewhere!

John Scalzi | June 15, 2006 04:43 PM

Well, see, that's why he did it. To mess with your head.

PeterP | June 15, 2006 04:52 PM

He's just saving some baby seals so that he can club them when he gets out of office.

Steve Brady | June 15, 2006 04:54 PM

The article you linked to leaves out that Bush decided to do this after watching a PBS documentary full of shiny underwater pictures.

Adam Rakunas | June 15, 2006 04:57 PM

Quick! Show the President more pictures of flooded New Orleans, only with shiny happy people!

John Scalzi | June 15, 2006 04:57 PM

Aw, come on, Steve! Embrace Dubya!

JC | June 15, 2006 05:19 PM

NPR interviewed Bruce Babbitt on All Things Considered. This has apparently been in the works in the Department of the Interior since 1999. Clinton gave the area what Babbitt called 80% protection and started the studies required to make it a national monument. (Sorry, I don't remember the official designation that Babbitt also mentioned. I think he said that Clinton proclaimed it a wildlife sanctuary. In any case, it eliminated most of the shipping from the area.)

Babbitt gives most of the credit to the governor of Hawaii for pushing this to completion.

In any case, good for Bush for completing this work.

John Scalzi | June 15, 2006 05:30 PM

Indeed. I'm sure there's enough credit to go around.

JC | June 15, 2006 05:32 PM

Oops, serious thinko. I meant to type "eliminated most of the fishing from the area", not "shipping."

Jeff Porten | June 15, 2006 05:41 PM

Well, here's the thing. Sorry to rain on the parade, but....

I'm a consistently liberal guy, but I'm not really an environmentalist; I figure other people are covering those activist bases. So when the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve issue came up, I wasn't all that worked up over a few caribou.

Buddy of mine set me straight, by saying, "It's not so much about the caribou. It's about the fact that ANWR has the most powerful protection we can give for environmental purposes, and if that's violated, then all such promises are worthless."

So excuse me, but Bush making a promise to Hawaii doesn't seem worth much credit -- he's already established the precedent of breaking it when it's convenient. Considering the damage he's done to the regime of environmental protection law, passing another such law seems like paving a forest and planting a memorial tree, metaphorically speaking.

clvrmnky | June 15, 2006 06:25 PM

Riffing on what Jeff said, my first question would be, "is this place a preserve the way that Yellowstone park (or other such places) is a preserve"?

I'm just asking here. It does seem rather easy to brush aside these pesky statutes when some corporate interest requests it.

emeraldcite | June 15, 2006 07:04 PM

It's a good thing, but it's deflection. Gore's little film is spurring too much political ire and Bush has to do something other than drill in the Preserve or in the Gulf.

John Scalzi | June 15, 2006 07:37 PM

Jeff Porten:

"So excuse me, but Bush making a promise to Hawaii doesn't seem worth much credit -- he's already established the precedent of breaking it when it's convenient."

He's actually made the area a National Monument, Jeff. Unless you're suggesting he's recently overhauled the way the US handles National Monuments, I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at here.

Emeraldcite:

Deflection to what end? I honestly don't think the vast majority of Americans give a crap about a bunch of tiny islands northwest of Hawaii. If he's doing this to try to score points with someone, he's picked a really bad way to do it. I'm willing to give him some credit for doing a good thing for a largely non-political reason.

eB | June 15, 2006 07:59 PM

This is a super swell deal for all the wildlife that may escape plundering, but, bottom line:

Ain't no oil there.

Ain't no obtainable minerals there.

Ain't no forests there.

It's easy political money, albeit small potatoes.

Period.

Laurie Mann | June 15, 2006 09:00 PM

I'm with both eB and John Scalzi on this.

On the one hand, if that area in Hawaii had any expoitable resources, it wouldn't be protected.

On the other hand, on the rare occasion when Bush does anything half-way bright, he does deserve praise.

Thirdly (though no third hand, obviously), ABC News tonight gave all the credit for this to Bush, with the claim that Bush saw a documentary by the son of Cousteau about this area IN APRIL and rushed protection of the area through. *Sigh* sounds like more "straight from a press release" "news" reporting from a major network.

Smurf | June 15, 2006 11:00 PM

If there were oil there, Bush would murder 100,000 Asians to get at it.

Michael G. Richard | June 16, 2006 12:18 AM

Wonder if these islands will (relatively) soon be underwater because of global warming. Hmm..

darren | June 16, 2006 12:45 AM

"Wonder if these islands will (relatively) soon be underwater because of global warming. Hmm.."

So that's his plan. He's made this area a national monument, then when global warming rears its terrorizin head to destroy one of our beloved national monuments, he can declare war on global warming and get the double benefit of looking tough on global warming to his base, while at the same time test our brand spankin new nukular bunker busters in an uninhabited south pacific archepalageo. Why, its so stupid it must be true.

Brian Greenberg | June 16, 2006 12:55 PM

Have no fear...you see, we say there are 7,000 species of birds, fish and marine mammals there, and we say we know where they are, but as it turns out, there are really no BFMM's there, and so while the preserve might have been a good thing, Bush's reason for creating it was all a big pack of lies...

;-)

Lars | June 16, 2006 01:38 PM


You're going soft. Now everybody's going to know that all they have to do to get in good with John Scalzi is give sanctuary to a few thousand endangered tropical species.

And I thought you knew how to hold a grudge.

Jon H | June 16, 2006 11:54 PM

Within a year it'll be the designated replacement for Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste dump. But just a little piece of it, the wildlife will hardly notice.

Wonky Muse | June 18, 2006 02:27 AM

I say not so fast, because the question is: will he fund it?

And if he claims he will, the next question is: how much, from where and for how long?

If anyone thinks that's too cynical, I have four words for you: No Child Left Behind.

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the administration is leaving millions of children behind with respect to education by failing to fully fund the programs he signed into law in the No Child Left Behind Act ("NCLBA"). The president's budget contains $9.4 billion less than the levels authorized under NCLBA. The president also eliminates funding for 38 existing education programs and level funds critical programs such as those supporting after-school care and teacher quality initiatives. Despite the funding crisis in our public schools, the president has proposed diverting millions of dollars in federal resources to voucher proposals that exempt private schools receiving federal funds from the accountability in the No Child Left Behind Act. -- ThinkProgress report: http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=44515

With their track record on the environment the last 5 1/2 years-- not to mention Iraq and everything else -- there is no good reason to take Bush and his administration at their word. None.

To modify the words of that favorite Republican icon Ronald Reagan: don't trust. Verify.

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