To Protect and Surf
President Clinton will unveil a system today to create “marine protected areas” in sensitive ocean waters, comparable to creating parks or wilderness areas on land. Offshore oil drilling, mining, dumping, fishing, and other activities could be banned in the protected areas, which will be designated by the Commerce and Interior departments. Specifically, Clinton will call today for permanent protection of a coral reef system in the northwest Hawaiian Islands, which supports threatened sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, and other rare marine life. He will also order the EPA to impose stricter water quality standards to reduce pollution on beaches and in oceans. Clinton’s plan, the latest in a series of end-of-term environmental initiatives, will be made through executive order and will not require congressional approval.