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Local coalition wants President Biden to expand protections for Pacific Remote Islands

 Palmyra Atoll
Erik Oberg/Island Conservation
Island Conservation
Palmyra Atoll

The vast Pacific Ocean harbors marine life we know little about, as well as undersea mounts that have yet to be explored. That's why a coalition of cultural leaders and scientists sent a letter to President Biden requesting him to expand protections of the waters around the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument — and rename it.

The coalition wants to extend the monument around Howard and Baker Islands, and Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll from 50 to 200 nautical miles, the full extent of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

Among the coalition's concerns is deep-sea mining. Many international companies have already started exploring the Pacific Ocean for rare minerals and metals.

The Conversation talked to two coalition members: Lānaʻi native and former lawmaker Solomon Kahoʻohalahala, known as “Uncle Sol,” who has a personal connection with the islands; and Hoku Cody, a biologist who works with the advisory council for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

This interview aired on The Conversation on June 2, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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