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Monday, July 4, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCLINTON SIGNS REEF MONUMENT PLANS FOR V.I.

CLINTON SIGNS REEF MONUMENT PLANS FOR V.I.

Despite protests from the Virgin Islands’ highest-ranking — and Democratic Party — politicians, President Bill Clinton on Wednesday created a new national monument and expanded another in the territory.
Clinton’s move came after Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull wrote letters saying that the monument designations would hurt the local fishing industry. There is also some dispute over the ownership of the approximately 30,000 acres of submerged lands in question.
The president’s proclamation means an 18,000-acre expansion for St. Croix’s Buck Island Reef National Monument and creates the 12,500-acre Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument off of St. John – a total of nearly 50 square miles.
On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who recommended the monuments to Clinton, called the reefs in the Virgin Islands "underwater Yellowstone." He said the monuments were created to "protect the diminishing base of coral reefs we have in this country."
Nonetheless, Christensen said she would try her best to have the designations reversed through an executive order by the incoming Republican regime under George W. Bush. Other options include legal and legislative proceedings.
"We will start working to have that changed," she said. "We will take it up with the next administration."
Christensen said that in response to her concerns about the impact the monuments — which will more than likely include no-take fishing zones — would have on commercial fishing, the White House told her that only 12 to 20 licensed fishermen would be affected. She puts the number at closer to 300.
"There is, perhaps, a particular group of people being singled out," Christensen said. "And we’re not going to let that happen."
Meanwhile, Holland Redfield, chairman of the local Bush campaign and transition team, said he is scheduled to meet with Bush administration representatives and the transition team at Interior. He said he will raise the monument issue.
"I don’t think this was done with a lot of consideration," he said.
According to the White House Web site, the monument action, which included six others throughout the U.S., was "taken after careful review and extensive public input and will help safeguard the valuable ecology and history of these irreplaceable landscapes for future generations."
In his letter to Clinton on Tuesday, Turnbull asked that the monuments not be declared because of the "questionable" manner in which Interior delineated the submerged lands. He also questioned the amount of input locals had on the designations.
Along with a visit in early September where Babbitt discussed the reef management plans with Turnbull and Christensen, Interior officials held town meetings on reef issues later in the month on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.

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Despite protests from the Virgin Islands’ highest-ranking — and Democratic Party — politicians, President Bill Clinton on Wednesday created a new national monument and expanded another in the territory.
Clinton’s move came after Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull wrote letters saying that the monument designations would hurt the local fishing industry. There is also some dispute over the ownership of the approximately 30,000 acres of submerged lands in question.
The president’s proclamation means an 18,000-acre expansion for St. Croix’s Buck Island Reef National Monument and creates the 12,500-acre Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument off of St. John - a total of nearly 50 square miles.
On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who recommended the monuments to Clinton, called the reefs in the Virgin Islands "underwater Yellowstone." He said the monuments were created to "protect the diminishing base of coral reefs we have in this country."
Nonetheless, Christensen said she would try her best to have the designations reversed through an executive order by the incoming Republican regime under George W. Bush. Other options include legal and legislative proceedings.
"We will start working to have that changed," she said. "We will take it up with the next administration."
Christensen said that in response to her concerns about the impact the monuments — which will more than likely include no-take fishing zones — would have on commercial fishing, the White House told her that only 12 to 20 licensed fishermen would be affected. She puts the number at closer to 300.
"There is, perhaps, a particular group of people being singled out," Christensen said. "And we’re not going to let that happen."
Meanwhile, Holland Redfield, chairman of the local Bush campaign and transition team, said he is scheduled to meet with Bush administration representatives and the transition team at Interior. He said he will raise the monument issue.
"I don’t think this was done with a lot of consideration," he said.
According to the White House Web site, the monument action, which included six others throughout the U.S., was "taken after careful review and extensive public input and will help safeguard the valuable ecology and history of these irreplaceable landscapes for future generations."
In his letter to Clinton on Tuesday, Turnbull asked that the monuments not be declared because of the "questionable" manner in which Interior delineated the submerged lands. He also questioned the amount of input locals had on the designations.
Along with a visit in early September where Babbitt discussed the reef management plans with Turnbull and Christensen, Interior officials held town meetings on reef issues later in the month on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.