President Obama is set to vastly expand a marine sanctuary northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands, White House officials said Thursday, creating the world’s largest protected marine area as he seeks to cement his environmental legacy in his last months in office.
Mr. Obama will travel next week to Midway Atoll, a remote spit of land within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, to recognize the designation and highlight the importance of protecting pristine lands and waters as the perils of climate change intensify.
The move, which will more than quadruple the size of the refuge and has been championed by conservationists, scientists and native Hawaiians, is the latest example of Mr. Obama’s expansive exercise of executive power to preserve public lands and waters.
“This act — to build resilience in our oceans, and sustain the diversity and productivity of sea life — could usher in a new century of conservation for our most special, and fragile, ocean areas,” said Sarah Chasis, director of the oceans program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Using the 100-year-old Antiquities Act, which was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, Mr. Obama has protected hundreds of millions of acres in places of ecological, historical or cultural significance — more than any other American president. In 2014, he also greatly expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, south and west of Hawaii. But he has often drawn criticism from Republicans for acting unilaterally.
These include millions of tropical sea birds, endangered whales and sea turtles, and black coral, considered the longest-living marine species, according to information provided by the administration. Mr. Obama’s action will expand the size of the monument, which now encompasses a little less than 140,000 square miles, to more than 580,000.
*The state fish of Hawaii.
And yes, I can pronounce it.
It's pronounced "Reef Trigger Fish".
Come on, that was funny.
But, I really can pronounce it.
But that's kind of hard to prove in print.
Here's a picture.