21 Mar 2023, 15:30

Biden protects two giant US wilderness areas

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that he is designating two giant wilderness areas in Nevada and Texas as national monuments, as well as considering a new marine sanctuary in the Pacific.

Biden's announcement was flagged by the White House ahead of his speech at an event in the Department of the Interior highlighting his administration's environmental protection policies.

It comes a week after he approved the giant Willow oil drilling project in a remote area of Alaska, angering supporters on the left, but winning approval from both Republicans and Democrats in the far northern state.

The White House said Biden will establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and the Castner Range National Monument in Texas, protecting from development more than half a million acres of public land.

"He will also direct the secretary of commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to protect all US waters around the Pacific Remote Islands," the White House press office said.

A spokesman said Biden will tout his "historic action," including protecting more lands and water in his first year than any president since John F. Kennedy in the 1960s.

This includes putting the Arctic Ocean waters off limits to new oil and gas fields and restoring many of the protections that his Republican predecessor Donald Trump had sought to remove or reduce.

Among these were the spectacular Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante desert areas of Utah.



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