WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday expanded a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating a safe zone for tuna, sea turtles and thousands of other species in what will be the world’s largest marine protected area.
Obama’s proclamation quadrupled in size a monument originally created by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will contain some 582,578 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas.
The president is slated to travel to the monument next week to mark the new designation and cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The president was born in Hawaii and spent much of his childhood there.
In creating the new monument, Obama cited its “diverse ecological communities” as well as “great cultural significance to the Native Hawaiian community and a connection to early Polynesian culture worthy of protection and understanding.”
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