“The Conservation President?” That’s a joke, but he did do one good last-minute thing-

A Monumental Decision. George W. Bush becomes the conservation president, at least at sea. Washington Post editorial.

Bush has declared about 333,000 square miles of ocean, including scattered rocks and islets to be national monuments. This is an important innovation, especially because the world’s oceans are in rapid decline. It’s not clear how these will be managed to protect them.

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The story: Bush to create huge ocean sanctuary in Pacific. Grist Magazine.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

26 Responses to A Monumental Decision George W. Bush becomes the conservation president, at least at sea

  1. avatar Salle says:

    Nice move, W, establishing monuments in the deepest part of the oceans way out where nobody can go anyway without great expense!!! (Not that it shouldn’t be done but…)

    And this is supposed to make him look like an environmental hero?

    Give me a break. I’m not that stupid or gullible and I’m certainly not impressed.

    Obviously this is the “smoke” that is supposed to cover up all the squabble over his overt environmental crimes… should last a day or two before he finds the boot up his butt on his way out the door. Maybe hip waders would be more appropriate…

  2. avatar Chris H says:

    Establishing a Monument is one thing. Providing protection, funding and enforcement is another entirely. Hopefully, he will go out and dedicate the Monument himself. Feeding the sharks is a great photo op.

  3. avatar jdubya says:

    I share the cynical response shown above with this decision. I am trying to figure out what this really means ’cause I really don’t assume for a second that Bush gives a damn about this area or its flora and fauna.

    I guess the most basic question someone could answer for me is why the hell these lands/trenches/reefs, etc are ours (i.e, the USA’s) to protect in the first place? Do we really own the Mariana trench? Is this actually more a “land grab” telling other countries that we think we own, and can thus protect, such sites in order to lay claim to even greater swaths of the ocean floor? Seriously, every time the administration does something I don’t understand I ask myself the basic question, “”what is Cheney getting out of this?”” I can only come up with a land acquisition explanation. Anybody else got a clue? But don’t expect me to believe that Bush is doing this ’cause he likes little reef fishies.

  4. avatar Jon Way says:

    I, like many here, have been very critical (for very good reason) of the Bush Admin’s policies but even though this is a very remote area, it is very impressive how much will be preserved. The Arctic Refuge of the Tropical Seas! Good news for a change! Bush deserves credit for this…. Now only on land could this happen again, somewhere.

  5. avatar kt says:

    JDubya – To be really cynical: Maybe that is where they have dumped some of Cheney’s victims from the Dark Site prisons. Wasn’t it Pinochet, after the coup that deposed Allende, who “disappeared” dissidents – from planes flown over the open ocean? Or – a little less macabre – the Hard drives from the computers with the millions of e-mails BushCo just can’t seem to retrieve? Only a giant squid might know the secret to that.

    I heard a blurb on NPR yesterday about this, and as an aside it was mentioned that some fishing is allowed.

    Kind of like the Clinton Craters of the Moon – where the name Monument had to be dropped to satisfy the crazy Idaho wackos under Bush. See

    http://wwpblog.com/2009/01/02/cooking-the-land-legacy-books-at-dirk-kempthornes-interior/

    Also – Several big funders of environmental groups a couple of years ago started this big Oceans kind of Campaign. This way, PEW and others get to rack up big tallies of acres “protected”, and walk away from the Bush admin proudly claiming big acreages of land protection accomplishments even in those dark years.

    But funding Oceans campaigns meant that they weren’t funding a lot of other things – like the Nuts and Bolts work needed to engage in agency processes and later challenge terrible Bush admin decisions on everything from cattle grazing devastating public lands to appealing timber sales. Just at the time when a lot of grassroots groups needed help the most, including to survive, Foundations (like PEW whose heritage includes Oil $$$) headed for the Deep Sea. On dry land, the big funders pumped cash into quid pro quo Wilderness dealings, and let the great bulk of public lands issues drop, and many of the Grassroots wither.

  6. avatar Monty says:

    I will take what I can get from the Bush Admistration.This may encourage other countries to set aside critical ocean areas. The National Park concept started in this country with Yellowstone, and just, maybe, what Bush has done will lead to better ocean conservation! It’s a start!

  7. avatar Salle says:

    Ooooh,

    kt, funny or not…

    I was having some very similar thoughts just a little while ago. I couldn’t believe that this move didn’t have some ugly-demon-nightmare-deep-dark-secret-motives-from-hell attached. So I set my cynical brain churning over the evil Bu$hCo. deeds of the last eight years…

    And I came up with about the same line of speculation. Just what other incriminating evidence would be “dumped” out in the middle of the deepest abyss in the ocean?

    This regime doesn’t do anything that “looks good” without some diabolical scheme taking place underneath.

  8. avatar Salle says:

    kt,

    I had similar thoughts during the day…

    I don’t think this regime does anything that LOOKS GOOD without some evil motivation beneath the surface.

    I think you’re right.

  9. avatar JEFF E says:

    I believe we should be reading the small print here. something smells fishy

  10. avatar kt says:

    Here is a longer WAPO article on the Marine Monument. My heart warmed a tad looking at a picture of a real live animal with the article – something alien in thoughts about Bush.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/06/AR2009010602107.html?wprss=rss_nation

    It paints Bush as defying Cheney. Hmmm. Is this an effort to brand the Bush legacy differently from Cheney?

    It refers to sportfishing someday. PEW is definitely heard from in the article, as well as a rep. from an Oceans group that sounds cautious about what this al menas.

  11. avatar JEFF E says:

    bush designated another marine national monument in 2006 that included the small islands and atolls at the very farthest western end of the Hawaiian island chain. Some time later I read that it was just another unfunded exercise done primarily for the PR value. I will have to find that news article

  12. avatar kt says:

    Here is a page showing that this is a PEW product from the Word go.

    http://www.globaloceanlegacy.org/newsroom/mediaphotos.html#cnmimediaphotos

    Googling also finds the Jan. 5 Press briefing and info packet – it was all rolled out so, so slickly.

    While I am very much in favor of protecting as much as possible anywhere on the planet, the WAPO article with the reference to sportfishing struck me as an Ah HA! Moment About the Monument.

    They may well be serious about protecting marine life here – but ONLY so there is a place for SPORTFISHING (a la the Dick Cheney hunting exploits). Private flights to the atoll. After that – boating out into the oceans (permit in hand of course) to catch your Great White … whatever. In association, of course with your visit to the Marianas Islands. Which in my mind the last time I heard of the Marianas was in the Tom DeLay days – when female sweatshop labor and de facto brothels in the Marianas Islands made a murmur or two in the news.

    And just now another A-ha moment. One of those “business visits” to the Marianas is how George, Dick,or maybe Dirk Kempthorne – whoever – first became aware of the rosy atoll, and marine life to be preserved for sportfishing. Guess I’m being cynical because I see these PEW land deals as a Product, marketed to the Max.

    And there is always a quid pro quo Backstory to the PEW land/water designation deals.

    In this case it may bethat the wealthy can take their business vacation in the sweatshop Marianas – and then Boat out or Atoll-hop in a small plane to Sportfish …

  13. avatar kt says:

    It is definitely worth looking at the Bush Blue Legacy Science PDF and Economics Report at the link I posted before to see how very, very slickly packaged this is.

    And the interesting intersection of scientific and marketing-type language.

    Some interesting photos too. I love that big parrotfish.

  14. avatar kt says:

    Sorry – this is actually the PEW Link that has more info and the Science and Economics reports. http://www.globaloceanlegacy.org/

  15. avatar Bonnie says:

    The way I look at it, it’s a great way for the shrub to add a little polish to a very tarnished image. There are no oil or gas fields there, no mining potential, not even any real development potential, so none of his good buddies are interested in it. Why not preserve it, especially since we don’t really own it anyway.

  16. avatar Salle says:

    I suspect that the brothels, sweatshop labor and business/vacation expense write-offs have more to do with it than anything else ~ with the exception of the possible “dumping ground” aspects. I can imagine that some of the “big business world” cronies have incriminating evidence to dispose of as well…

  17. avatar Salle says:

    And then there’s this editorial in today’s NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/opinion/07wed1.html

    Interesting asterisks…

  18. avatar kt says:

    Salle, That NY Times editorial was interesting – especially the last paragraph:

    “But those are just the easy lifts in a huge list of environmental tasks ahead, starting with the long-neglected fight against global warming. Melting ice caps and ocean acidification are an urgent threat to the very fish, reefs and islands that Mr. Bush lately has seen fit to protect”.

    Has anyone seen the Actual Monument Proclamation Text? I could not find it on the PEW site. It will be interesting to see how sportfishing and other aspects are worded. And if it makes any mention of climate change -especially after the Kempthorne polar bear fiasco. Yes, they are threatened But No – we aren’t gonna do anything about it.

  19. avatar kt says:

    ok – here is finally a Link to a Blog with a Copy of the Bush Marine Monument Proclamation:

    http://jetapplicant.blogspot.com/2009/01/monument-proclamation-language.html

    Fishing with permits (guided? I wonder).

    Let’s hope the research doesn’t include that kind of research the Japanese conduct with whales.

    Looks like the Secretaries of both Interior and Commerce are involved. Quite the bouncing back and forth sentences describing that part.

    Has anyone asked Dirk Kempthorne if he has been jetted there? Since much of his time as Interior Secretary seemed to be excursions to all the Parks as part of cutting funding.

    Why would Department of Homeland Security be involved?

  20. avatar Layton says:

    Salle/kt,

    Just curious, are your (apparently) matched hatreds for anything federal, or especially Republican, a genetic thing? Or is it some sort of a pathological thing that you have acquired in later life?

  21. avatar jdubya says:

    Layton, do you really want an answer to your question?

    On the other hand, why don’t you give us a list of all the good things Bush and Cheney have done for the country in the past 8 years. Take your time, I know it will be a challenge.

  22. avatar outsider says:

    THERE HASN’T BEEN ANOTHER 9-11

  23. avatar Salle says:

    Layton,

    It’s an intellectual thing, I suspect you wouldn’t get it.

  24. avatar jdubya says:

    This is what will stop future 9-11’s: education not indoctrination.

    http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/01/08/news/10nobel.txt

  25. avatar JEFF E says:

    outsider:”THERE HASN’T BEEN ANOTHER 9-11″
    True in the strict sense, but please give your take on:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601623.html
    or
    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/10/11/lynne-cheney-stewart/
    may-hap outtolunch is a succinct nom de plume

  26. avatar outsider says:

    Jdubya Three cups of tea is a great book with an excellent message, I have referned to it before on thi blog, I think, I would much rather we spent money on education than war, but its kinda hard to educate someone who is ready and willing to die just for a chance to kill us. The real problem has to deal with the perversion of all religions. If people would just read and follow the bible, koran, tora, ect, we wouldn’t have half the problems today.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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