Trump orders review of marine monument in Northwestern Hawaiian - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Trump orders review of marine monument in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

(Image: NOAA) (Image: NOAA)
WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) -

President Donald Trump has ordered a review at least two dozen national monuments, including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

The review will determine if federal protections around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are costing jobs, as the fishing industry has claimed.

The president took aim at the Antiquities Act, the law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 that gives presidents the authority to create national monuments to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features.

"The Antiquities Act does not give the government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water and it's time we ended this abusive practice," Trump said before signing the Executive Order.

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is the largest contiguous, fully protected conservation area under the U.S. flag and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

It encompasses 582,578 square miles of the Pacific Ocean -- an area larger than all the country's national parks combined.

Supporters of the monument expressed concern that a review has been ordered.

"To date, no president has ever made anything less protected for any monuments under the Antiquities Act. So its sets a very dangerous precedent," said William Aila, a native Hawaiian fisherman who was an original member of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz called Trump's executive order "unnecessary."

He said he's confident the monument's recent expansion under President Barack Obama was "the right thing" done in "the right way."

Schatz and Aila both said Hawaii's longline fishing industry has made record profits this year, but the president of the Hawaii Longline Association said that's because the fish has been in other areas of the Pacific outside of the monument. 

"Removing a significant portion of the ocean to the commercial fishing fleet in Hawaii has had an impact, whether it is this year, or next year, or three years or five years from now," said Hawaii Longline Association President Sean Martin. He added that he looks forward to seeing the review results.

The Department of the Interior will have 120 days to complete the review.

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