Yes, you read that headline right. The notoriously environmentally tone deaf, lame duck president has shown some surprising sympathy with, well, ducks (irrespective of lameness) and other marine life in his last days in office. Today the administration proposed the creation of three marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean totaling 195,000 square miles.
The three areas include the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Rose Atoll in American Samoa. The Pacific Remote Islands form an uninhabited island chain that’s home to vast numbers of migratory seabirds and large coral reefs. The Northern Mariana Islands contain the Mariana Trench, the deepest canyon in the world at five times the depth of the Grand Canyon. Also uninhabited by humans, these volcanic islands are home to endangered species of seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals, and giant coconut crabs. The Rose Atoll stands as one of the smallest atolls on the planet, and its protection was personally requested by the Governor of Samoa.
The protected ecosystems would encompass an area nearly 50 percent larger than all current U.S. National Parks combined.