Ocean reserve President Bush might create largest protected area in the world

On August 25, a memo to members of his Cabinet revealed that United States president Bush is interested in creating two protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. One of these would be situated around the Central Pacific Islands and be almost as large as Alaska. If Bush goes through with the plan, this would become the largest protected area in the world. The second proposed protected area would cover parts of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific, including the famous Mariana Trench. Both areas are located in U.S. territorial waters.

In the memo, Bush did not specify what type of protection that he is interested in for the two areas, only that he would protect the rights of the Department of Defense (which has active bases within the proposed locale). As the president of the United States, Bush can order environmental protection in several different ways. Depending on which type of protection Bush chooses, a long row of activities may still be allowed within the protected areas, such as deep sea mining and commercial fishing.

In June 2006, Bush created the currently largest conservation area in the world, a marine monument protecting the Northwestern Islands off Hawaii. This new conservation effort could be put in action before Bush leaves office. “The president is on the cusp of conserving more territory than any leader has ever done. That’s an amazing legacy to leave the nation.” says Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement.

Located in the western North Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans and the deepest location on the surface of the Earth’s crust. The most accurate measurement of its depth is believed to have been taken by the Japanese unmanned probe Kaikō which descended to the bottom of the trench in 1995 and recorded a maximal depth of 10,911 meters (35,798 feet). The Mariana Trench is found where the Pacific tectonic plate subdues beneath the Philippine tectonic plate.

Source: msnbc.msn.com