Bush’s Pacific Monument
Large areas in the Pacific near New Zealand territory have been designated as American national monuments by outgoing U.S. President George Bush. The areas include the Mariana Trench and northern Mariana Islands, a chain of remote islands in the Central Pacific and American Samoa’s Rose Atoll, near New Zealand’s Tokelau Islands. A New York Times editorial explains: “Try this on a globe sometime, or Google Earth: Looking head-on at the planet, spin it until Hawaii is a little north and east of centre. What you’ll see – besides the barest fringes of America and Asia up there, New Guinea and New Zealand down there, and lots of island dots – is all blue. This is the vast stage on which President Bush is trying to salvage his environmental legacy … An environmental trophy was lying on the ground, and Mr Bush, with just days left in his presidency, simply picked it up.” “The monuments will prohibit resource destruction or extraction, waste dumping and commercial fishing,” Bush said. The White House claims the places are among the last pristine marine areas left on Earth.