The Real Story Behind the Creation of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Setting the Record Straight
By Sen Fred Hemmings (R-Kailua)
Recently in a Honolulu daily newspaper, 5 questions were asked of Ed Case. I was stunned by his answers. He unabashedly took credit for the creation of Papahanaumokuakea (Northwest Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument). Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ed Case did introduce legislation to protect Hawaii's northwest archipelago but as with most of his efforts, nothing happened in Congress. The truth is that the PEW Foundation's Environmental Division headed by Joshua Reichert and one its representatives Jay Nelson, were instrumental in Hawaii in promoting sanctuary status for the northwest archipelago which is part of my 25th State Senatorial District. I urged Governor Lingle to work with the federal government in creating the world's largest marine sanctuary.
Upon Governor Lingle's request, President George Bush sent White House Council on the Environment James Connaughton to Hawaii to travel with a Hawaii delegation, which I was privileged to be part of, to Midway Island. Being appropriately impressed, James Connaughton went back to the White House and worked on the preservation status. Jean-Michel Cousteau accompanied us on the trip and produced Voyage to Kure, a documentary.
I was privileged to go, along with the Governor and my wife, to the White House for a small dinner at which time this documentary was aired. In a conversation after dinner, I distinctly remember the President of the United States looking at James Connaughton and saying "let's get it done", referring to the marine reserve.
Within months we were once again in the White House for a huge ceremony in which First Lady Laura Bush announced the President's signing of a Declaration of Memorial Status for the northwest archipelago.
The President entered, signed the historic document and created the world's largest marine sanctuary. Within months of signing the designation, First Lady Laura Bush came to Hawaii to announce the official name of the sanctuary as Papahanaumokuakea.
This is history as it happened. I hope this clears up the errant statements made by Ed Case.