Washington, D.C. — Marine Conservation Institute, a marine science organization working on the Pacific marine monuments since 2005 and a leader in securing strong protection for the oceans’ most important places, joins the nonprofit organizations and Senators here today, together with over 2.5 million people* who have submitted comments to the Department of Interior. We ask Secretary Zinke to preserve and protect the national monuments that are under review. The implication of the review is that some monuments were designated without adequate public input and do not meet the scientific, cultural and historical standards of the Antiquities Act.
Dr. Lance Morgan, president of Marine Conservation Institute said, “The four Pacific marine national monuments that Republican President Bush created, and Democratic President Obama enlarged, protect some of the healthiest coral reef ecosystems in the world and dozens of rare species. These reserves have made the U.S. a leader in marine conservation and triggered the recent expansion of large marine reserves around the world. The Trump administration is undermining the remarkable legacy of these former Presidents, and undoing decades of work to recover marine wildlife and restore healthy oceans.”
On April 24th, President Trump signed Executive Order 13792, which calls for a review of all monuments larger than 100,000 acres that have been designated since 1996. Comments on all twenty-two land monuments and five marine monuments were due by July 10th. Over 2.5 million citizens responded to the administration’s request, the overwhelming majority of whom strongly support the national monuments. Many commenters point out that the monuments have undergone thorough public and scientific reviews, sometimes over a period of decades across the administrations of Republican and Democratic Presidents. Many technical comments, including ours, cite dozens of scientific studies showing why these areas are special and require enhanced protection.
Dr. Lance Morgan said, “While the unprotected ocean is like a debit account where everybody withdraws and nobody deposits, marine reserves like our Pacific marine monuments are similar to savings accounts that produce interest we can live off”, and added that, “Land and marine monuments have been established by Republican and Democratic Presidents for over one hundred years since Theodore Roosevelt created the first monument. They have given this country a legacy of conserving land and marine biodiversity and of supporting local economies dependent on the conserved areas. Scientists and a majority of the public strongly oppose undoing that legacy.”
*The discrepancy between the number displayed on regulations.gov (1.3 million comments) and the coalition number (2.5 million) results from the way regulations.gov counts comments. If we submit a petition or document signed by 100 or 100,000 people as one document, it gets counted as one comment. Surveying the dozens of concerned organizations gathering public comments to submit to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reveals that over 2.5 million comments were gathered by July 10th. When uploaded to the government site, however, each bundle displays as a single comment and undercounts the amount of public input.
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—as a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. To enhance marine protection efforts in the US and around the globe, Marine Conservation Institute also built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database.
To learn more about Marine Conservation Institute, visit:
For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:
Mike Gravitz, Director of Policy and Legislation
Marine Conservation Institute
Email – Michael.Gravitz@marine-conservation.org
Phone – +1 301 351 5052
Dr. Lance Morgan, President
Marine Conservation Institute
Email – Lance.Morgan@marine-conservation.org
Phone – +1 707 217 8242