President Bush got a lot of credit for designating the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands a national monument. The href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/15/science/earth/15hawaii.html?ex=1308024000&en=ce5a20136199dc60&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss">description
in the New York Times was especially glowing.
Reading it, you would have no clue that it was not his idea
in the first place. The Washington Post
is a little better, href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/14/AR2006061402455.html">giving
credit to the guy who came up with the idea:
"The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands represent an
incredible opportunity to preserve nature much as it was, or has been,
for millions of years, because the hand of man has not wreaked the same
kind of havoc as we have elsewhere in the world," said Rep. Ed Case
(D-Hawaii), who has lobbied for the designation since he was elected in
To get the real story, you have to go to other sources, such as
the Molokai Island Times:
Congressman Ed Case has been invited to The White
House East Room tomorrow (June 15, 2006) at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight
Time (8:00 a.m. HST) for President Bush's expected announcement of the
proposed designation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as our
nation's 14th and largest National Marine Sanctuary. The event is open
to media coverage, which will include a pool camera for television
news. A White House fact sheet will be available tomorrow.
Case last year introduced H.R. 2376, a bill to afford maximum permanent
protection to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In a June 21, 2005
letter, he also urged the President to endorse full protection for the
NWHI. A copy of Case's letter to the President follows...
The President does deserve some credit for taking action on this.
It doesn't make him a champion of the environment, by any
means, but it is a nice gesture on his part. It was also a
good publicity move. As noted in WaPo:
Administration officials declined to comment on the
record, but one
senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid
upstaging the president's announcement, said...
There was no appreciable political opposition to this. There
were only eight fishing boats making commercial use of the area, and
their operations are going to be bought out by environmental groups, href="http://www.pewtrusts.com/ideas/ideas_item.cfm?content_item_id=3417&content_type_id=15&page=15&issue=16&issue_name=Protecting%20ocean%20life&name=Op-eds%20%28Pew%29">coordinated
by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
So, I have mixed feelings about this. It was sort of a gimme
for the President: he gets to make a show of supposed environmental
sensitivity and concern, and it doesn't cost him any political capitol.
It's good that he did it, but it rankles me to see him take
credit for something that was not his idea in the first place.