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Turtle Island Statement on Trump’s Executive Order on National Monuments

In late April 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order that calls for a review of all national monuments created or expanded in the past two decades. This includes a number of important marine monuments.

Turtle Island believes that the intent of the Executive Order is to set in place a process to undo existing environmental protections, and we strongly oppose the Executive Order and urge President Trump to rescind it.

On April 26, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order to review the national monument designations. The monuments are created through the Antiquities Act by Presidential proclamation.

The following marine monuments will be reviewed by the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke under the Executive Order.

  • Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean (89.6 million acres),
    • Home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Species protected include the threatened green turtle, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, and the world’s most endangered duck, the Laysan duck.
  • Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean (60.9 million acres),
    • The Marianas Trench is the deepest place on Earth, deeper than the height of Mount Everest.
  • Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean (55.6 million acres),
    • Some corals at the monument are up to 5,000 years old. Home to sea turtles, dolphins, whales, pearl oysters, giant clams, coconut crabs, large groupers, sharks, humphead wrasses, and bumphead parrotfishes.
  • Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean (3.1 million acres),
    • The canyons and seamounts provide habitat for protected species such as endangered sperm, fin, and sei whales and Kemp’s ridley turtles.
  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa (8.6 million acres).
    • Important nesting sites for the threatened green and endangered hawksbill turtles in American Samoa.

We are facing the potential loss of more than 215 million acres of marine monuments to advance an agenda of increased oil and gas drilling and fishery exploitation.

By June 10th, 2017, the Secretary shall provide an interim report to the President summarizing the findings of the review. By August 24th, 2017, a final report will be issued to the President.

Sign our petition calling on the Secretary of the Interior to continue the same levels of protection for our marine national monuments.