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On the surface, Bush's expected announcement of a new Ocean Preserve, extending from Hawaii all the way to Wake Island, (just over a 1,400 miles stretch) looks like an unprecedented move by a very unpopular President to gain support from the softer elements of American society. But, this is by no means what it seems to be.

A recent report by the AP, rehashed here at msnbc reports of the move by Bush and generally describes it as a positive one.

Indeed, Elliott Norse, of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute concurs, saying in a statement released ahead of the announcement;

"This an unprecedented win for endangered Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, black-footed albatrosses, tiger sharks, the incredible reef corals in these waters, the people of Hawaii and all Americans, now and in generations to come,"

To me, it looks like they feel that whatever the American public doesn't know, won't hurt them.

READ ON:

Although thought of before, it was president Clinton that first introduced "real legislation" that would make the area a preserve more than 10 years ago, but that was mainly because the military bases that had previously spotted the area were being closed down and the United States still had a need for an American presence in the area to keep it from being looted by eco-destroyers such the Japanese fishing fleet's. The legislation was turned back by the Republican held Congress.

Although this legislation appears to place the area under strict government protection, and indeed it does, in reality it changes nothing. How do I know this? Because I live on Midway Islands for a couple of years while stationed there in the early 1980's.

A very limited amount of commercial fishing is already a policy that has been in place for decades , and most of that is much father South East than where Midway, Eastern or Tern Island lay. In fact, much of the French Fregit Shoal's remain mostly undisturbed because the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard allow very limited commercial fishing in the area. This legislation only allows a fishing net barrier of 3 miles, when it has long been argued that a 60 miles range would be the only methode that would truly help those species in trouble at the present. Basically it keeps things as they are and transfers the funding portion from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, (a big expense), to various governmental agencies and limits the military role altogether.

Midway is the jewel of the Pacific. On the surface, Midway appears to be rather blan, but take a look in and under the water and suddenly it goes from an average looking low lying island, to a magical forrest under the waves the likes you have never seen in your lifetime, because there is nothing on the planet to compare it to.

Pick the fish you want to eat, and within 5-10 minutes you'll have it on your hook. Choose an afternoon to discover a new species of coral, and you'll have at least a 50 - 50 chance of doing just that. Imagine, "Warden Coral", that would be cool, don't ya think?

I've spent more than 1000 hours logged under the water of these islands and have researched them until this very day. There truly is nothing like them.

So, why would I be complaining about something that appears to have the capacity to save the entire area? Because it really does not change anything accept possibly open the area up to exploration from private groups funded by the U.S. (Republican) government.

What I see is that Bush publically appears to have given something for nothing politically. I've never known the man to be this way, ever! So why would he do this?

Possibly, it's a public peace offering so he can sway the public to open Alaska to oil development and in the end is a very sad ploy, I'll bet cha! Don't think the association is that far stretched, it isn't. The Act provides for a very lose interpretation in and as far as the "level" of protection that could be offered. If that interprtation is a lose one, (to be seen) it set's a new legal precedent that can be uniformally applied. The initial impact is to attempt to make Bush appear to be sensitive to environmental issues and ride the current wave of new poll number increases. However, in the long haul there exist a threat that this could provide much more for Republican's that meets the eye. As occams points out below:

At issue is whether or not the sanctuary will be one that is fully protected from all extractive activities, such as commercial fishing, seabed mining, coral removal, and the like. The National Marine Sanctuaries System Act permits you to establish marine sanctuaries with varying degrees of protection, including full protection. [emphasis added]
It all depends on the interpretation. Considering Bushs' track record along with Gonzales' skills for "unique" legal interpretations, I simply don't trust this.

Originally posted to TheWarden on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:48 AM PDT.

Poll

Is this Wildlife Preserve a political ploy in one way or another?

88%30 votes
11%4 votes

| 34 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our President would NEVER (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shaniriver, barbwires, TheWarden

    do anything cynical regarding the environment to benefit commercial interests - how DARE you suggest such a thing!

    <snark off>

    Seriously, Warden, please stay on top of this and report to us anything new. This is very - ohh, please pardon the unintended pun - verrry fishy, and I don't like it.

    Thanks for the diary.

    As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

    by occams hatchet on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:51:59 AM PDT

    •  And here's more . . . (0+ / 0-)

      Designated by President Clinton's executive order in 2000 as an Ecosystem Reserve (a move which was decried by some on the right as an abuse of executive power). When the Bush Republicans came into power, their true colors showed:

      Although the Bush Administration considered revoking the Executive Order, thousands of public comments convinced the President to move forward with planning for the creation of a NWHI Sanctuary. After years of work and public input, the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which outlines proposed sanctuary management, is scheduled for release and public comment in mid-2006.

      This from a letter written by Newt Gingrich (?!?) to Bush LAST MONTH (hmmm, nothing odd there, right?):

      At issue is whether or not the sanctuary will be one that is fully protected from all extractive activities, such as commercial fishing, seabed mining, coral removal, and the like. The National Marine Sanctuaries System Act permits you to establish marine sanctuaries with varying degrees of protection, including full protection. [emphasis added]

      Waiting for the other shoe to drop . . .

      As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

      by occams hatchet on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:07:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well this sums it up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shaniriver

        The Act allows for a large interpretation and offers protection variations that I am sure will be used in other arena's. Again unless it's total protection and those nets are not allowed within 60 miles of this island chain, then nothing changes except access.

      •  And, this . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smokeymonkey

        on our "good steward of the land" (from the MSNBC article):

        It is only the second time that Bush has invoked the 1906 National Antiquities Act, which gives the president authority to create national monuments to preserve the nation's ancient cultural sites and unusual geological features. The law itself turned 100 this month.

        In February, Bush used the antiquities law for the first time when he declared part of the African Burial Ground in the lower Manhattan section of New York City a national monument. The site, covering less than half an acre, marks where an estimated 20,000 slaves and free blacks were buried in the 18th century.

        Clinton used the act to create 19 national monuments and expand three others to set aside 5.9 million acres of land, mainly in the West, drawing widespread criticism from conservatives.

        A national monument is much less protected than a national park - and besides, if you want to know what will happen to our newest national monument, all you need to do is look at Bush's "stewardship" record throughout the West. I've diaried on this with Republican energy policy: F**k the national parks and What WON'T Republicans sell?

        As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

        by occams hatchet on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:25:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've also diaried this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, smokeymonkey

    I also diaried this this morning but you're more of an authority than I am, it seems.

    My Diary: Why I'm joining the National Park Service - Or, Pandering The Treehugger Vote

  •  Sad But Probably True (0+ / 0-)

    Still I've never felt it was accurate to ascribe to Bush purely bad motives. Believe it or not.

    However, to second-guess the Alaska connection there is this: There is no pressing reason to drill in ANWAR, really, anyway. So it's entirely plausible he's given up on that. I don't believe it... But I wouldn't be too shocked.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:53:49 AM PDT

  •  As ready as I am to condemn Bush, (0+ / 0-)

    your diary doesn't really give me any reason to believe this action is a coverup for something sinister.

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      It may be a political ploy, but I'll take it. Would you rather this not happen at all?

      'The war is over,' so said the speaker, with the flight suit on. Maybe to him I'm just a pawn, so he can advance. ... All I wanna do is dance.

      by Whigsboy on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:17:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's great actually (0+ / 0-)

        but I've grown quite cynical of late.

      •  I don't know yet (0+ / 0-)

        this is more of a watchdog alert. Bush has a long history of introducing legislation, that on the surface looks compelling, but has ending up stripping protections, rights, privacy, and has never relented on the assualt on the eco-systems.

        If indeed history is an indicator, then I wouldn't rust this so much, because I have lived in the area. If not applied with a strict interpretation of the Act, then nothing changes except access to the place.

        It is seriously protected right now. To kill an albatross, aka (gooney brid) carries a $1,500 fine and 6 months in the prison.

        A monk seal dies from your hand, and your going to be reminded of it for the remainder of your life. These are very strong restriction right now. I would be warry of this, I simply don't trust it.

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      It's a ploy to CYA for every wrong thing he's done in the past, aka sinister, and to help boost his poll numbers.

      They don't have, or aren't using for now, terror alerts this time, so they need to use something that makes him look like a 'man of the people'.

      Rove's prints are all over this one.

    •  No it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

      It's too abstract and would take a 100 pages or more to note all the reason's legally. But here it is in a nutshell.

      To pass new and unprecedented preservation legislation and scripting said legislation to be interpreted in such a way that it offers protection in a form that sets "NEW" criteria, allows it also to be used in similar circumstances.

      Once written, and if losely interpreted, can be utilized in similar circumstances. Once the legal precident is set, it's application is mostly universal within the legal system. It all depends on how it's presented and written, and that remains to be seen.

      For this dairy's purposes, it's somthing to watch mindfully and read carefully. If the end result is total protection with a strict interpretation, then all this is just worry for nothing.

      Until we see it in it's final form, assume nothing.

  •  hm (0+ / 0-)
    And you say that this just transfers the funding for enforcement from Navy/Coast Guard to various agencies?

    And, comparatively, how well-funded are those agencies?  Are they getting extra dollars for the new enforcement duties, or will they have to stretch existing funds?

    Thought so.

    Republicans.  Sure, let's pretend we're environmentalists.  Just don't actually act like dem dirty fish-huggers.

  •  This would be a National Monument (0+ / 0-)

    and there is a lot of case law building up about what can and cannot be done in a monument.

    Courts have sided with the "no resource extraction" argument in almost every case.

    This may just be a good thing Bush is doing. But he better get on the global warming issue or these islands he is protecting will be underwater before our kids can go visit them.

  •  A ploy to point to (0+ / 0-)

    They'll say, "look at his environmental record" in the future when confronted with global warming issues, when in fact, unless the Act specifically says "total protection" the Act will rewrite current legal precedent.

    Should he follow through and script this to reflect this sentiment, then yes, it's a great thing. All I can say is, we'll see what it actually ends up saying, and I'd keep an eye on it personally.

    Not paranoid, just have a feeling.

  •  My first thought when I saw the article (0+ / 0-)

    this morning was "How stupid does he think we are?"  Sadly, I'm sure there are more than a few people that will buy it.

    "...give no quarter; fear no shadows; and make the mountains tremble." Dr. William F. Schulz

    by Shaniriver on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 09:50:48 AM PDT

  •  You make the best point (0+ / 0-)

    He cannot think anyone is actually stupid enough,(at this point) to say, he's environmentally conscious. But what he can do is make it seem he is with this long thought of legislation.

    To that end, I think the wording in the legislation may include some "interesting" clauses.

    I know it's pure speculation, but I still have some deep reservations.

  •  There's alway an 'angle' (0+ / 0-)

    to every single decision made by Bush's and his posse. If the Arctic Wildlife refuge managed by the Feds can be exploited, why not this region? He ain't doing it for the owl lov'n, tree huggers thats fer sure.

    •  I don't think he will (0+ / 0-)

      disturb this area. I think it may well turn out just the way he says. What I am worried about is how this legislation will be worded. And, to that end, will it include those "interesting" clauses I spoke of above?

  •  Let's not forget the important thing (0+ / 0-)

    That no matter why it's happened, it has happened.  That these islands have become a national monument, which requires an act of Congress to revoke and which permanently closes it to fishing (and, also, by the way, protects it from close passes by SURTASS-equipped navy vessels), is a victory for all of us.

    Of course it's political.  Of course the impulse is cynical.  But please, let's at least celebrate the fact that at least one thing that SHOULD have happened HAS happened, and that if in fact it proves a popular decision among the electorate, similar decisions could follow.

    Ironic points of light flash out/ Wherever the just exchange their messages. -W.H. Auden

    by Crypsis on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 02:06:16 AM PDT

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