May 23, 2008
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

NPR NEWS EXCLUSIVE:

BUSH ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERING
MASSIVE MARINE CONSERVATION EFFORT

REPORT AIRING ON NPR NEWS’ ALL THINGS CONSIDERED,
INTERVIEW WITH CORRESPONDENT JOHN NIELSEN ON DAY TO DAY
TODAY, FRIDAY, MAY 23

WEB STORY AVAILABLE NOW AT NPR.ORG;
AUDIO TO BE AVAILABLE AT 3:00PM AND 7:00PM (ET)


May 23, 2008; Washington, D.C. – NPR News is exclusively reporting that the Bush administration is considering launching one of the largest conservation programs in U.S. history. NPR science correspondent John Nielsen reports that, if implemented, the initiative would create massive marine reserves and protect vast stretches of the world's oceans from fishing, oil exploration and other forms of commercial development.

Nielsen is the first to break this news. He will discuss the specifics of the plan today on the NPR News midday show Day to Day. The complete report is airing this afternoon on All Things Considered. A web companion story is available now at: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90766237

Nielsen reports that the short list of potential reserves includes 600,000 square miles in the central Pacific, and a network of deep water coral reefs off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and in the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Bush could protect these areas without Congressional approval, by declaring them “monuments” of “historic or scientific interest.”

To develop the proposal, Nielsen says the Bush administration sought input from environmental groups, among them Washington-based Ocean Conservancy. Jack Sobel, the group’s senior scientist, tells NPR that the White House "wanted things they could do before they left office.” He continues: "They wanted things that they could do without tremendous political blow back…[but] would have a conservation impact."

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. The audio of Nielsen’s interview on Day to Day will be available at 3:00PM at www.NPR.org; the All Things Considered audio will be available at 7:00PM (ET).

NPR’s Science Desk most recently completed Climate Connections, a year-long, multimedia series that visited all seven continents to report on the ways people impact the climate, and climate changes people. The entire series is available online at www.NPR.org/climate