The Intersection

i-be3d42a839fa438f90ad2b0bac31cccb-mapmonument.pngIt’s a rumor that has been percolating about the Hill for months… and now may be moving toward reality rapidly! Yes folks, it’s time to get behind the Bush Administration on something.

It seems George W. Bush has plans to leave a ‘blue legacy‘ and to that I say, go for it Mr. President!

No matter where you fall politically, we know our oceans are in serious peril due to overfishing, agricultural runoff, increased carbon sequestration, and a myriad of other threats. Fisheries are in dramatic decline, the pH of the marine environment is changing, and we’ve got ocean dead zones almost the size of New Jersey.

So now that our Commander-in-Chief appears ready to take unprecedented strides toward protecting the marine environment, let’s do all we can collectively to make sure it happens!


  1. #1 Mary
    May 23, 2008

    I noticed some ocean legislation today too–I didn’t even know this was brewing:
    Ocean zoning law approved by Legislature

    A good day in the blue, I think. If this is done right.

  2. #2 Phoca
    May 23, 2008

    Bush seems to have a penchant for creating National Marine Monuments rather than National Marine Sanctuaries (IIRC, NMMs like NW Hawaiian Islands are run by the Nat’l Park Service, while NMSs are run by NOAA) – Why is this? Does it take an act of Congress to create a NMS?

  3. #3 Left_Wing_Fox
    May 23, 2008

    Just as long as this isn’t another Orwellian use of environmental language to further pro-business ati-environmentalist issues. Like “Healthy Forests” or “Clear Skies” initiatives, or his backing of corn-based ethanol.

    If this is getting the blessing of oceanic groups, and is well planned, good for him. But we’re long past the “Fool me once” territory, so forgive me if my support for anything this president does is “tepid”.

  4. #4 Joseph O'Sullivan
    May 23, 2008

    A blue legacy for Bush? Will it be like Bush’s healthy forests legacy and clear skies legacy?

  5. #5 Crudely Wrott
    May 24, 2008

    Another stupid idea masquerading as enlightenment. It, and other ideas like it, say that humans are not natural. I am tired of being fed that line no matter what the alleged justification.

    The reasonable man picks up after himself because he has experienced the disgust of walking upon another’s mess. I think that puts us all on the same team.

    Like the old man used to say, “Leave a clean trail behind you.”

    That is, though, rather difficult in an era where we humans are changing the face of the world. Changing the face of the world is natural if humans are too. Where we pass we leave a path. Nothing is new. We have done nothing but change the world since the beginning.

    The reasonable man will learn to deal with this knowledge.

  6. #6 tbell
    May 25, 2008

    probably most here would agree with you that ‘natural’ is not a scientific term. However I’m not clear on what you mean by ‘deal with this knowledge’. It seems perfectly reasonable to try to mitigate our ‘mess’, just as you suggest. Not all change is equivalent. And to the degree that we can in fact alter our behavior and effect change that is in our long-term interest, we should. It seem resonable to me to conserve.

  7. #7 Emily
    May 27, 2008

    I’d like to play devil’s advocate for a minute here…

    While it is great that Bush would like to protect vast swaths of the ocean, he is using the Antiquities Act to completely sidestep both Congress and the public (not to mention a last-ditch attempt to salvage some shred of environmental legacy). The NPR article that you’ve linked to above alludes to some sort of public comment process, but in the end the Antiquities Act allows the President to designate areas as protected with no input from and even against the wishes of the other 299 million people in the country.

    Sure, designating these areas as National Marine Monuments gives them immediate protection (under the Dept. of Interior / Parks Service – although NOAA is involved in co-managing the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, so they might be involved in co-managing other marine monuments), but it also robs everyone from giant corporations down to independent fishermen of the ability to provide their input on the potential for such protection to interfere with existing or future fishing operations, resource extractions (oil, gas), and recreational activities, among other things.

    Before everyone jumps on me for being a corporate shill, I do agree that we must do our best to protect the resources that we have – but I am afraid that the type of grand plan described above sets a dangerous precedent for the way that we make (or are barred from participating in) decisions about how to protect those resources.

  8. #8 John G.
    June 14, 2008

    One of the proposed National Marine Monuments is located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The plan being proposed will convert over 1/3 of the CNMI) Exclusive Economic Zone (>115,000 square miles) into a no-take MPA. This encompasses those waters from the shoreline out to 200 miles that surround three small uninhabited islands of Asuncion, Maug and Uracus. The islands have already been designated as conservation areas by the CNMI Constitution…. The Pew Environmental Group is advocating for the NMI Monument (probably all the others, too).

    Its one thing to “protect” large expanses of ocean for valid, science-based conservation purposes, but quite another to establish large “no-take” MPA’s under the guise of conservation and then to solicit the blind loyalty of enviro-extremist groups to bolster the credibility of the action. There was absolutely no science used in determining the boundaries of the proposed Monument in the Northern Mariana Islands, nor has there been any biological justification for setting aside this much ocean as a MPA…. I believe Pew chose this area because they thought it would be a soft target.

    As a vehicle to create (or designate) these National Monuments, Pew and the President want to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 because it doesn’t require public support or input. Another plus is that the President can designate all those proposed Monuments anytime before he leaves office in January 2009 – even as he walks out the door of the oval office.

    Designation of the NMI National Monument is easily supported by those who live in the US mainland because it doesn’t directly affect you. However, those of us who live in the Marianas feel that we are being used to further the agenda of US mainland politics. If the NMI Monument is designated, the Pew Environmental Group will be closer to meeting their quota of establishing 3 to 5 large marine protected areas and President Bush will be able to substantiate his “blue legacy” – and we in the Mariana Islands will “pay” for it. Most of us are offended in the manner Pew is running their conservation campaign, and do not support their Monumental idea – especially since Pew is pushing us to the negotiation table before President Bush leaves office. There are other more flexible options to utilize when addressing conservation issues than using the Antiquities Act and having Pew’s inflexible anti-fishing agenda to contend with.

    The CNMI Pew lobbyist keeps promising us that the President won’t designate the Monument unless he has the backing of the people of the CNMI – because of potential political blow back….. Political blow back??? I doubt it. Hardly anyone in the US mainland knows where we are or even that we are part of the US, we don’t have a voting member in Congress, we don’t vote for the President, we have less than 50,000 US citizens living here, and President Bush’s political career is over…. It’s sad to say, but I don’t think any one will really care if the Monument is designated in the CNMI against the wishes of its people.

    Additionally, because of the huge disconnect with the White House and mainland politics, the CNMI must rely on Pew to provide accurate information to the President on whether there is support for the NMI Monument, or not. To date, the Governor has written Pew and President Bush asking that the Monument not be designated and the CNMI House and Senate jointly sponsored a resolution opposing the Monument. Yet, Pew still has not gone away and tells us that we need to be further educated becasue we have been misinformed about the Monument….. This is an example of political environmentalism at its worse.

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