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Friday, August 26, 2016
Obama to Expand Papahanaumokuakea: OHA gets Co-Trustee’s Cut of the Green
By News Release @ 2:32 AM :: 6744 Views :: Environment, OHA

OHA applauds PMNM expansion

News Release from OHA

HONOLULU (Aug. 25, 2016) —In response to the release made by the White House Press Office to elevate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) to a monument Co-Trustee and expand the boundaries of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument , the OHA Ka Pouhana/Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe issued the following statement:

“OHA applauds President Obama’s decision to elevate the voice of Native Hawaiians in the management of the lands and waters in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Papahānaumokuākea is critical to Native Hawaiian spiritual wellbeing, and this action by the President helps revive our connection to our kūpuna islands and reinforce our understanding of Hawai’i as a contiguous spiritual and cultural seascape.  (Translation: There is money in this.)

Thanks to the President’s decision, these resources will be better protected for generations to come.

The elevation of OHA to a Co-Trustee position rightfully places the Native Hawaiian voice at all levels of decision making in the governance of Papahānaumokuākea.  (Translation: There are contracts in this.) This has been a ten year effort to achieve this position and this success marks the beginning of a new era of collaboration for the co-managers of the area to fulfill the tremendous responsibility of protecting and caring for this sacred place.”

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National Monuments for Fun and Profit—Please Spill some Oil on Me!

Papahanaumokuakea Trustees Before Obama Announcement: “The Monument is administered jointly by three co-trustees (NOAA, USFWS, and the State of Hawai’i); the day-to-day management of the Monument is overseen by a 7-member management board comprised of two sub-agencies of each Co-Trustee, plus the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”

Indian Country Today: Report: Obama’s national monument designations bring in $156 million

USCG: Only Natural Resource Trustees designated by the President, a State or Territorial Governor, or a Tribal governing authority may submit natural resource damage (NRD) claims to the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC).

US Army: Natural Resource Trustee and Natural Resource Injury issues – “The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Oil Pollution Act, and the Clean Water Act (CWA) all contain provisions on natural resource injuries and damages (NRI/NRD). These laws allow natural resource trustees to assess damages to natural resources resulting from a discharge of oil or a release of a hazardous substance covered under CERCLA or the CWA….”

EPA: The Role Of Natural Resource Trustees In The Superfund Process – The word “fund” or “funds” occurs 20 times in this document.

EPA: Natural Resource Damages: Trustees

Williamson Chang: Akaka Bill--Proposal for Native Hawaiian Trusteeship over NW Hawaiian Islands

Keli’i Akina: OHA Violates Trust Responsibility to Native Hawaiians

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Fact Sheet: President Obama to Create the World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

From The White House, August 26, 2016

…Secretary of the Interior Jewell and Secretary of Commerce Pritzker also announced that the Departments will soon sign an agreement with Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Office of Hawaiian Affairs providing for a greater management role as a trustee in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.  This arrangement has been previously requested by Senator Brian Schatz and Governor Ige….

Full Text: Presidential Proclamation -- Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Expansion

read … Fact Sheet

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Ige Letter to Obama

August 24, 2016

…Based on public input, I appreciate that Senator Schatz’s proposal limits the expansion in the current monument southern boundary, to preserve popular fishing grounds for recreational, subsistence and commercial fishers from the main Hawaiian Islands. I understand the proposed boundary eliminates an area representing about 6.5% of the Hawai’i commercial longline fleet’s current catch in pounds; fishing effort can be moved to other locations with some impact in travel time and fuel costs, but no material decrease in annual catch is expected.

A related issue that has emerged from my review is the inter-relationship between the much larger purse-seine fishing industry in the Pacific and the smaller longline fishing industry, and the relative impact on the health of the tuna fisheries and on the Hawai’i-based fishing industry. I strongly urge you to direct federal agencies to investigate the equitable balance of the fisheries in international treaty negotiations with regard to economics and fishery sustainability.

As stated in my December 2015 letter to Secretaries Jewell and Pritzker, I request that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs be added as a fourth co-trustee of Papahanaumokuãkea Marine National Monument. I request as well that the federal-state monument collaborative co-management structure extend to the expansion area….

read … Ige Letter

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Obama Coming to Waikiki Eco Confab to Announce Papahanaumokuakea Expansion

KHON: He is scheduled to arrive here ahead of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, which starts next week Thursday at the Hawaii Convention Center and Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The White House announced that he will address leaders from the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the IUCN World Conservation Congress Wednesday evening.

Then on Thursday, he’ll fly to Midway Atoll to mark the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

Many other dignitaries will also be flying in. The conference is known to have a lot of protesters, meaning there’s a heightened need for security.

The Secret Service will also shut down roads, meaning drivers can expect more traffic delays.

View a full breakdown of closures and traffic modifications during the event here.

read … Papahanaumokuakea

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Secretaries Pritzker, Jewell Applaud President’s Expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Secretaries Intend to Recognize Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs as Additional Co-Trustee in Management of World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

News Release from US Department of the Interior, August 26, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today applauded President Obama’s action to use his executive authority under the Antiquities Act and expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument – making it the largest marine protected area on Earth.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were originally protected by President Teddy Roosevelt who established the Hawaiian Islands Bird Reservation in 1909. President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadened the protections to all wildlife and formed the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge in 1940. And in 2006 President George W. Bush created Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to protect and preserve the marine waters and their wildlife and historic, cultural and scientific riches. Today’s designation will expand the existing Marine National Monument by 442,781 square miles, bringing the total protected area to 582,578 square miles.

The monument expansion comes after significant engagement with the Native Hawaiian community, the fishing industry, and residents of the islands.

“Today’s historic action ensures the ongoing conservation of this iconic landmark. Throughout this process, we’ve collaborated with a number of stakeholders, including Native Hawaiians, state and local officials, community leaders, and fishermen,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Department is committed to protecting ecosystems like the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument for future generations, and we are working with commercial fishermen to safeguard the continued economic vibrancy of this industry. We are truly indebted to the leadership of Senator Schatz and other local officials in advancing this proposal.”

“The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet and a sacred place for the Native Hawaiian community,” said Secretary Jewell. “President Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will permanently protect pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine habitats and important cultural and historic resources for the benefit of current and future generations.”

Additionally today, Secretaries Pritzker and Jewell also announced their intent to draft a new agreement making the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) a co-trustee in managing the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. In the past 10 years, the Departments have forged a strong partnership with the State of Hawaii in managing the monument, including benefiting greatly from the cultural perspective that OHA has provided. U.S. Senator Schatz, Governor Ige, and others have been vocal in their support for making OHA a co-trustee.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which is part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, supports a dynamic reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species, of which approximately one quarter is unique to the Hawaiian Islands. This diverse ecosystem is home to many species of coral, fish, birds, and marine mammals and other flora and fauna, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, three endangered whale species, and the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles.

Its biological and geographic isolation, coupled with singular oceanographic and geological conditions, have produced some of the most unique and diverse ecological communities on the planet. Important geological features of the expansion include more than 75 seamounts, as well as a non-volcanic ridge that extends southwest towards the Johnston Atoll. Together, these features form biodiverse hotspots in the open ocean that provide habitat for deep-sea species, including sponges, other invertebrates, fish and colonies of corals many thousands of years old.

In addition, this area has great cultural significance to the Native Hawaiian community, including creation and settlement stories, and a connection to early Polynesian culture and is used to practice important activities like traditional long-distance voyaging and wayfinding.

In recent years, technological advances have spurred new scientific findings, greatly increasing our understanding of the areas adjacent to the original monument. New satellite technology allows scientists and researchers to ‘see’ the topography of the seafloor and can track individual animals, such as whales and seals, providing a better understanding of foraging and migration patterns. Ship-based sonar can show not only the relief of the ocean bottom, but also what types of habitat exist in these extremely deep locations. Undersea vehicles venture to the ocean depths and send back video of never-before-seen species. This increased understanding – and appreciation – of deep sea habitats and their role in the larger ocean ecosystem, is the fundamental reason for expanding the boundaries of the original monument.

Additionally, the monument area contains several shipwrecks – including the USS Yorktown and several Japanese vessels – and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway in World War II, marking a final resting place for the more than 3,000 individuals. This announcement comes in advance of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway next year.

Commercial fishing and other resource extraction activities, which are currently prohibited in the boundaries of the existing monument, are also prohibited within the expanded monument boundaries. Noncommercial fishing, such as recreational fishing and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices, is allowed in the expansion area by permit, as is scientific research.

Today’s announcement is made by the President under the authority of the Antiquities Act, an authority exercised by 16 presidents starting with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and used to protect treasures such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients. Altogether, President Obama has protected hundreds of millions of acres of public lands and waters – more than any other President – and has preserved sites that help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history.

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Pew Applauds Expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

U.S. expands Northwestern Hawaiian Islands reserve, creating world's largest protected area

News Release from Pew Charitable Trusts 

HONOLULU, Aug. 26, 2016 -- The Pew Charitable Trusts joins partners in Hawaii and the scientific community in praising today's announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States has expanded the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, also known as Papahānaumokuākea, to 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers).

The action creates the largest protected area in the world and expands the original monument by more than 442,760 square miles (1.15 million square kilometers). The area now covered is almost four times as large as California.

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Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Expansion

Today's announcement builds on steps taken by six presidents—starting with Theodore Roosevelt and including three Republicans and three Democrats—to conserve the ecosystems and wildlife of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2006, President George W. Bush designated the islands and the surrounding waters a national marine monument, marking the first time a large area of ocean had been set aside for protection in the United States, which has a long history of establishing national parks on land. At the time, Papahānaumokuākea was the largest marine reserve in the world. Subsequently, more than a dozen large-scale highly protected marine reserves have been created around the globe, including nine larger than the original Hawaiian monument.

"Papahānaumokuākea inspired an international movement to safeguard large areas of ocean and create the world's first generation of great parks in the sea," said Joshua S. Reichert, an executive vice president at Pew who oversees strategy for its Global Ocean Legacy project. "By expanding the monument, President Obama has increased protections for one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet."

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) agreed. "Expanding Papahānaumokuākea makes a definitive statement about Hawaii's and the United States' commitment to ocean conservation. By adopting my proposal to expand the monument, President Obama has created a safe zone that will replenish stocks of tuna, promote biodiversity, and fight climate change, and he has given Native Hawaiians a greater voice in managing this precious resource," Schatz said.

"President Obama's declaration is only the beginning. To create continuing success, we will need to work together to maintain and grow the partnerships that made the expansion possible in the first place," the senator added.

Through petitions, public meetings, and other events, Hawaiians expressed strong support for the expansion, particularly the Native community, which proposed the idea to the White House in January. To Native Hawaiians, Papahānaumokuākea is a place of honor, believed to be the root of ancestral connections to the gods and the site to which spirits return after death.

"Papahānaumokuākea is critically important to Native Hawaiian culture—it is our ancestral place, the birthplace of all life," said Sol Kahoʻohalahala, a seventh-generation Hawaiian from the island of Lanai and a member of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group. "The expanded monument will serve as a conservation, climate, and cultural refuge for my granddaughter and future generations."

Pew's Global Ocean Legacy campaign worked with Native Hawaiians, scientists, elected officials, community leaders, businesses, and the larger environmental community to build support for expansion. The efforts included an in-depth study of the biological and cultural significance of the area, town hall meetings, educational sessions, news conferences, and media interviews. More than 1 million people from Hawaii and beyond signed petitions or wrote letters to the White House and lawmakers. In June, some 1,500 scientists signed a letter to President Obama backing the expansion.

Although much of the region remains to be fully explored, Papahānaumokuākea is home to more than 7,000 species, a quarter of which are endemic, or found nowhere else on Earth; some have only recently been discovered. The area provides habitat for rare species such as threatened green turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, and false killer whales, as well as 14 million seabirds representing 22 species. This year, scientists exploring these waters discovered a new type of ghostlike octopus they nicknamed Casper, as well as three new species of fish.

Some places within the expanded monument show 100 percent endemism at depths of 100 meters. Scientists also have found the world's oldest known living organism—a deep-water black coral estimated to be 4,265 years old—within the new boundaries. Shipwrecks from the World War II Battle of Midway, including wreckage from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, also are located in the newly protected area.

More ocean has been set aside for protection in the past 18 months than during any other period in history, with announcements of new marine reserves by the governments of the U.S., the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Chile, and Palau. The Global Ocean Legacy campaign has helped safeguard 2.4 million square miles (6.3 million square kilometers) of ocean by working with local communities, governments, scientists, and other stakeholders around the world.

Even with these successes, only about 3 percent of the world's ocean has been set aside with strong protections. Recent science supports conserving at least 30 percent to maintain biodiversity, support fisheries productivity, and safeguard the myriad economic, cultural, and life-supporting benefits of the seas.


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Learn more at

Global Ocean Legacy is a partnership established in 2006 to promote the creation of marine reserves in the world's oceans. Current partners include The Pew Charitable Trusts, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Lyda Hill, Oak Foundation, The Robertson Foundation, and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Learn more at


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