Bush’s Partial Protection

A news item notes that President Bush signed three new national monuments into effect and is being praised by various people for the action. Somewhat less prominent is the information that the area of these monuments, all in the Pacific Ocean, is a fraction of what marine biologists had requested receive protection. 2.2 million square kilometers were designated, and Bush protected about a quarter of that, 505,000 square kilometers.

The move, which has become known as Bush’s Blue Legacy, tops his 2006 designation of 360,000 square kilometers of ocean off the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument.

“Bush’s Blue Legacy”? Tell me you’re kidding me, Christopher Pala. Who, precisely, told you that anyone besides a Bush flunky is using that phrase?

The article ends with this inane sound bite:

“This move, coupled with the strong team the Obama Administration is putting in place, gives the ocean a fighting chance,” said Vikki Spruill, president of the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C.

I think that better oversight may help improve things, but I don’t see any obvious reason to think that simply designating little-used ocean acreage as a “monument” does much by itself to help with the problems that beset ocean habitat. Is there any indication that any government agency is tasked with actually enforcing the paper protection that area has received? Or is it possible that an already overstretched part of our government has been tasked with that, meaning that their enforcement of regulations where known problems are occurring becomes more spotty and less effective? I certainly feel entitled to a modicum of cynicism where “conservation” and “George W. Bush” are mentioned in proximity to one another.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

One thought on “Bush’s Partial Protection

  • 2009/01/06 at 11:31 am
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    I forgot earlier to check the size of the Pacific Ocean… it’s 155.557 million square kilometers. That puts “Bush’s Blue Legacy”, including the current and 2006 monument designations, at a total of 0.55% of the area of the Pacific Ocean. It’s like marking off a 4 foot square in something the size of an average house as a “clutter free zone” and declaring that an entire house that has known termite, roach, and rodent infestations, as well as being in a Superfund toxic waste zone, now has “a fighting chance”.

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