Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Janis Searles Jones (@InVeritas_Jones), CEO of Ocean Conservancy, on the Department of Interior’s recommendation to the Trump Administration to modify the boundaries of two national marine monuments: the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll.
“The Department of Interior’s recommendation to sell out our nation’s national marine monuments to private interests will threaten the future of these culturally important areas.
“National monuments provide critical habitat for whales, sharks, seabirds, and other at-risk marine wildlife. Modifying the monuments’ boundaries and opening up these vulnerable areas to commercial extraction is a betrayal to our common moral obligation to preserve America’s proud outdoor heritage for our children and grandchildren.
“Support for national monuments is bipartisan and overwhelming. Studies have shown that an overwhelming 90% of voters support Presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness. Republican President George W. Bush established several national monuments while in office, including the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. He said that the benefits of the national monuments reach “far beyond nature,” citing the many cultural, navigation, military, and economic interests tied to ensuring the protection of these areas.
“Opening up national monument to commercial extraction would be unprecedented. Since the establishment of monument designation more than a century ago, our American tradition of protecting our national treasures has been upheld and commercial extraction in these areas has been rightly prohibited. Dismantling these protections essentially begins to make monuments “protected areas” merely on paper, in name only – “paper parks.” These must protected habitats must be preserved. We can settle for nothing less.”
Janis Searles Jones is available for interviews upon request.
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.