Yesterday we noted that dear old (and still around) President Bush was working overtime to pass environmental regulations—many of which would harm, not help, said environment—before he's shown the proverbial boot. But to be fair, not every rule he's looking to enact is bad: The Washington Postreports that one in particular may even be crucial in conserving some our most vital underwater ecosystems. The plan is to restrict or ban fishing and mineral exploitation in two huge areas of the Pacific. No surprise, his attempts to do some good are being met with resistance, to the point where the scope of the original plan, which included the preservation of four potential "marine monuments" has already been whittled down. And leading the anti-conservation charge is none other than friend-to-corporations-everywhere Dick Cheney, who argues that the restrictions will hurt the economies of nearby regions like the Northern Mariana Islands. The ocean areas in question, called "treasure troves" of biodiversity, are described by the Post as follows:
Kingman Reef and other islands in the central Pacific area teem with sharks and other top predators; the Mariana Trench and its nearby islands are home to several species of rare beaked whales and the Micronesian megapode -- an endangered bird that uses the heat from volcanic vents to incubate its eggs -- as well as to mud volcanoes, pools of boiling sulfur and the greatest microbial diversity on Earth.
Still, sayeth Cheney, if there's mining and fishing to be done, to heck with the megapodes—though apparently he's less worried about what will happen to fishing long-term if we don't create preserves where fish can replenish their dwindling populations. In a rousing (and unfortunately somewhat uncommon) display of spine-growing, the current First Lady is taking up the ocean's cause, arguing that "preserving the region's natural attributes would attract tourism and burnish the president's record for history." This may be the first/last time we'll say this, but here it is: We couldn't agree with Laura more. Related: RB: It’s Not Over Yet: Bush Sneaks In Harmful Pollution Laws RB: Whales Battle U.S. Military…and (Probably) Lose