President Obama Creates The World’s Largest Ocean Preserve

Pacific_Remote_Islands_Marine_National_Monument

On June 17, 2014 President Obama annouced a Presidential Memorandum that increases the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument  ocean preserve to 782,000 square miles (2,030,000 km2), making it the largest ocean preserve in the world while banning drilling, fishing and other activities. On September 25, 2014 President Obama signed a proclamation designating  Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument off-limits to development

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June 17, 2014

FACT SHEET: Leading at Home and Internationally to Protect Our Ocean and Coasts

“We’ve already shown that when we work together, we can protect our oceans for future generations. So let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s make sure that years from now we can look our children in the eye and tell them that, yes, we did our part, we took action, and we led the way toward a safer, more stable world.”

President Barack Obama, June 17, 2014

President Obama is committed to protecting the ocean and its marine ecosystems. Americans all over the country depend on the ocean for food, jobs, and recreation. But the health of our ocean is under threat on multiple fronts, from overfishing to carbon pollution. The recently released National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures can harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. In addition, carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which can damage coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems. In fact, the acidity of our ocean is changing 50 times faster than any known change in millions of years. And black market fishing—fishing that is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU)—continues to pose a major threat to the sustainability of our world’s fisheries, economies and to global security.

Recognizing these significant challenges, President Obama launched the National Ocean Policy early in his first term. The National Ocean Policy seeks to streamline more than 100 laws that govern our oceans and create a coordinated, science-based approach to managing the many resources and uses of our coasts and oceans. National Ocean Policy initiatives range from voluntary marine planning to releasing more federal data to supporting offshore renewable energy projects to making our ports more resilient to sea level rise.

This week, the State Department is hosting the “Our Ocean” conference, an international conference on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification that concludes today. Secretary Kerry has also issued a global call to action to protect the oceans. As part of the conference, the President is announcing several steps that the United States is taking to answer that call. During the closing events of the conference, the State Department will announce additional steps and commitments it has secured to protect our oceans.

New Actions to Protect and Preserve the Ocean

Today, in a video message to conference participants, President Obama is announcing new executive actions to preserve and protect the oceans.

* New protections for world-class marine areas
* Combating black market fishing and supporting fishermen
* Establishing a pathway to new marine sanctuaries
* Meeting diverse coastal needs with regional marine planning
* Understanding the impacts of ocean acidification
* $102 million to build resilience in coastal communities
* Bolstering domestic shellfish aquaculture
* National Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/17/fact-sheet-leading-home-and-internationally-protect-our-ocean-and-coasts

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6/17/14 Presidential Memorandum Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud

 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

SCIENCE FOR AN OCEAN NATION: UPDATE OF THE OCEAN RESEARCH PRIORITIES PLAN

NATIONAL OCEAN POLICY IMPLEMENTATION PLAN APPENDIX

Presidential Task Force releases action plan to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud

PBO Ocean Statement

Reaction to President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum 

President Obama Announces Plan to Create the Largest Marine Protected Area in the World with Help from Marine Conservation Institute Marine Conservation Institute 

UPDATE: Secretary Kerry and President Obama Show Deep Commitment to Blue Legacy Ocean Conservancy/

Obama also vowed to combat seafood fraud, illegal fishing, and black market fish in his announcement today, directing federal agencies to work together to tackle this issue. Oceana

 “We applaud President Obama’s proposal to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the central Pacific Ocean and therefore double the area of protected ocean globally; the establishment of a new trust fund dedicated to ensuring reliable and long-term funding for protected areas management in the Bahamas; the Coral Triangle Initiative and the many other commitments. The Nature Conservancy

President Obama announced that he will expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. This Monument contains some of the most pristine tropical ecosystems in the world, but is vulnerable to ocean acidification and climate change. The Associated Press

Obama to create world’s largest ocean preserve Yahoo News

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33 thoughts on “President Obama Creates The World’s Largest Ocean Preserve

  1. WH

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Barack Obama announces a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act

    President Obama welcomes New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:55 AM
    President Obama welcomes New Zealand Prime Minister John Key hold a bilateral meeting

    11:00 AM
    11:30 AM
    Vice President Biden arrives at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City
    La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    First Lady Michelle participates in a Summer Learning Day Event
    Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

    12:00 PM
    12:15 PM
    Vice President Biden attends a greet with Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    12:30 PM
    Vice President Biden and Guatemalan President Molina hold a bilateral meeting
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    1:00 PM
    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

    1:15 PM
    Vice President Biden and Guatemalan President Molina hold a press conference
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    1:30 PM
    Vice President Biden attends a multilateral working lunch meeting with Guatemalan President Molina; El Salvadoran President Sánchez; El Salvadoran President Sánchez Cerén; Honduran President Hernández; the Coordinator General of Honduras; and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the Mexican Secretary of Gov
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:30 PM
    Vice President Biden attends a roundtable with reintegration leaders
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence – Guatemala

    5:00 PM
    5:45 PM
    Vice President Biden delivers a statement to the press at the residence of the US Ambassador to Guatemala
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence – Guatemala City, Guatemala

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. Protecting Our Ocean and Coasts – Creating The World’s Largest Ocean Preserve

    On June 17, 2014 President Obama annouced a Presidential Memorandum that increases the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument  ocean preserve to to 782,000 square miles (2,030,000 km2), making it the largest ocean preserve in the world while banning drilling, fishing and other activities.

    June 17, 2014

    FACT SHEET: Leading at Home and Internationally to Protect Our Ocean and Coasts

    “We’ve already shown that when we work together, we can protect our oceans for future generations. So let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s make sure that years from now we can look our children in the eye and tell them that, yes, we did our part, we took action, and we led the way toward a safer, more stable world.”

    President Barack Obama, June 17, 2014

    President Obama is committed to protecting the ocean and its marine ecosystems. Americans all over the country depend on the ocean for food, jobs, and recreation. But the health of our ocean is under threat on multiple fronts, from overfishing to carbon pollution. The recently released National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures can harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. In addition, carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which can damage coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems. In fact, the acidity of our ocean is changing 50 times faster than any known change in millions of years. And black market fishing—fishing that is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU)—continues to pose a major threat to the sustainability of our world’s fisheries, economies and to global security.

    Recognizing these significant challenges, President Obama launched the National Ocean Policy early in his first term. The National Ocean Policy seeks to streamline more than 100 laws that govern our oceans and create a coordinated, science-based approach to managing the many resources and uses of our coasts and oceans. National Ocean Policy initiatives range from voluntary marine planning to releasing more federal data to supporting offshore renewable energy projects to making our ports more resilient to sea level rise.

    This week, the State Department is hosting the “Our Ocean” conference, an international conference on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification that concludes today. Secretary Kerry has also issued a global call to action to protect the oceans. As part of the conference, the President is announcing several steps that the United States is taking to answer that call. During the closing events of the conference, the State Department will announce additional steps and commitments it has secured to protect our oceans.

    New Actions to Protect and Preserve the Ocean

    Today, in a video message to conference participants, President Obama is announcing new executive actions to preserve and protect the oceans.

    * New protections for world-class marine areas
    * Combating black market fishing and supporting fishermen
    * Establishing a pathway to new marine sanctuaries
    * Meeting diverse coastal needs with regional marine planning
    * Understanding the impacts of ocean acidification
    * $102 million to build resilience in coastal communities
    * Bolstering domestic shellfish aquaculture
    * National Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/17/fact-sheet-leading-home-and-internationally-protect-our-ocean-and-coasts

    • September 24, 2014

      FACT SHEET: President Obama to Designate Largest Marine Monument in the World Off-Limits to Development

      Designated Area in the South-Central Pacific Ocean is Home to Pristine and Biodiverse Marine Ecosystems That Are Vulnerable to the Impacts of Climate Change

      WASHINGTON, DC — As part of this Year of Action, President Obama will sign a proclamation tomorrow to designate the largest marine reserve in the world that is completely off limits to commercial resource extraction including commercial fishing. The proclamation expands the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, one of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world, to six times its current size, resulting in 370,000 square nautical miles (490,000 square miles) of protected area around these tropical islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean. Expanding the Monument will more fully protect the deep coral reefs, seamounts, and marine ecosystems unique to this part of the world, which are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

      The recently released National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures can harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. In addition, carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which can damage coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems. To date, the acidity of our ocean is changing 50 times faster than any known change in millions of years.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/24/fact-sheet-president-obama-designate-largest-marine-monument-world-limit

  3. US Using Trade Pacts to Fight Wildlife Poaching

    June 17, 2014 7:12 AM VOAnews

    U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said wildlife poaching is funding terrorism and corruption.

    For that reason, Froman said, the U.S. considers poaching a threat to global security because it’s driven by criminal elements, including terrorists using profits from items such as rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks to finance their activities.

    To meet the threat, U.S. officials are emphasizing the environmental component of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Froman said in a Reuters report.

    Similar efforts are also part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, Reuters reported.

    Froman spoke at a news conference at Kennedy Airport in New York Monday, standing next to a table heaped with illegal wildlife goods seized by U.S. customs officials.

    They included stuffed lion and leopard heads, animal skins and figurines carved out of ivory.

    Froman said terrorists use money gained from the illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia to fund their deadly activities.

    U.S. officials have said they are working to reduce demand for illegal animal products at home and abroad, including Asia, where some believe such goods as powdered rhinoceros have medicinal benefits.

    “The high demand for wildlife products is having a devastating impact, with iconic species like elephants and rhinos facing the risk of significant decline or even extinction,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement reported by Reuters.

    “The president’s strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, including decreasing demand at home and abroad, is important to strengthen our nation’s leadership on countering the global security threat posed by the criminal markets that encourage poaching and illegal trade,” Jewell said.

  4. May 19, 2014

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand

    President Obama will welcome New Zealand Prime Minister John Key back to the White House on June 20, 2014. The meeting will highlight our increasingly close relationship with New Zealand and our collaboration on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and military-to-military cooperation. The President looks forward to consulting with Prime Minister Key on these and other issues, including the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, regional maritime security issues, and global security issues such as Ukraine.

    • June 23, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Key of New Zealand after Bilateral Meeting

      Oval Office

      June 20, 2014, 11:51 A.M. EDT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome my good friend, Prime Minister Key, to the Oval Office. The last time I saw him, we were on a golf course in Hawaii with his son. And although we will not divulge the scores, it is important to note that John’s son, Max, can outdrive both of us by a substantial amount.

      During the course of my presidency and John’s prime ministership, I think it’s fair to say that the U.S.-New Zealand relationship has never been stronger. We share values, we have enormously strong people-to-people relationships, we have excellent commercial ties, and we have increasing consultations and relationships between our militaries. And all of those components have deepened during the course of our tenures here.

      We had an excellent conversation about many regional issues, as well as some broader issues and challenges. We spent a lot of time talking about trade and commerce in the Asia Pacific region, and the United States and New Zealand were two of the initial members of the TPP coalition that is trying to create a high standards trade regime in the most dynamic and fastest-growing part of the world. New Zealand as a country with a small population but really good products has a great interest in making sure that markets are open and rules of the road are abided by when it comes to trade.

      And so New Zealand has been a great partner on that process and we discussed a timeline whereby before the end of the year we’re able to get a document that can create jobs both in New Zealand and the United States and the other countries that are participating, and expand wealth for all parties concerned. And our hope is, is that by the time we see each other again in November when I travel to Asia that we should have something that we have consulted with Congress about that the public can take a look at, and we can make a forceful argument to go ahead and close the deal. But we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/23/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-key-new-zealand-after-bilater

  5. https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/biden-air-force-two-e1402927307572.jpg?w=700

    Vice President Biden’s Itinerary

    Guatemala

    Vice President Biden and Guatemalan President Molina hold a bilateral meeting
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Vice President Biden and Guatemalan President Molina hold a press conference
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Vice President Biden attends a multilateral working lunch meeting with Guatemalan President Molina; El Salvadoran President Sánchez; El Salvadoran President Sánchez Cerén; Honduran President Hernández; the Coordinator General of Honduras; and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the Mexican Secretary of Gov
    National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Vice President Biden attends a roundtable with reintegration leaders
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Vice President Biden delivers a statement to the press at the residence of the US Ambassador to Guatemala
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence – Guatemala City, Guatemala

    • June 20, 2014

      Remarks to the Press with Q&A by Vice President Joe Biden in Guatemala

      Residence of the United States Ambassador
      Guatemala City, Guatemala

      4:37 P.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, folks. Thank you for waiting. I appreciate it.

      I’ve just finished, as most of you know, a day of meetings, and I would say very constructive meetings here in Guatemala. And I wanted to speak about one issue in particular that brought me here. I also wanted to thank the chargé for accommodating us and accommodating the civil society groups — and the First Lady of Guatemala as well.

      The United States, to state the obvious, is greatly concerned by the startling number of unaccompanied minors that — children and teenagers who are making a very perilous journey through Central America to reach the United States. These are some of the most vulnerable migrants that ever attempt — and many from around the world attempt — to come to the United States. They’re among the most vulnerable. And the majority of these individuals rely — we estimate between 75 and 80 percent — rely on very dangerous, not-nice, human-smuggling networks that transport them through Central America and Mexico to the United States.

      These smugglers — and everyone should know it, and not turn a blind eye to it — these smugglers routinely engage in physical and sexual abuse, and extortion of these innocent, young women and men by and large.

      And they profit from the misery of these children and teenagers; these desperate, desperate young people. And the numbers are growing at an alarming — the U.S. Department of Homeland Security apprehended 24,000 unaccompanied minors in the year from October of 2012 to the year — to October, 2013. In that one year, they apprehended 24,000 unaccompanied minors at our border.

      In eight months since that time, the number has jumped to 47,000 additional unaccompanied minors. We’re also seeing a rise — generally mothers, who are traveling with their children from Central — Mexico to the United States.

      So I met today with the Presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Honduran Coordinator General, the Mexican Secretary of Government. And President Obama had a chance to discuss the situation with Mexican President Peña Nieto last night, and I spoke at some length today on Air Force Two to the President of Honduras, President Hernández of Honduras. And we had a lengthy conversation about the issue.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/remarks-press-qa-vice-president-joe-biden-guatemala

    • Thank you ‘Milieu de la Moda’ for helping to spread the word about this environmental cause! 🙂

  6. Juneteenth

    Juneteenth Celebration

    It is the name for a holiday celebrating June 19, 1865, the day when Union soldiers arrived in Texas and spread the word that President Lincoln had delivered his Emancipation Procalamation. News traveled so slowly in those days that Texas did not hear of Lincoln’s Proclamation, which he gave on January 1, 1863, until more than two years after it was issued!

    The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

    Although Juneteenth has been informally celebrated each year since 1865, it wasn’t until June 3, 1979, that Texas became the first state to proclaim Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) an official state holiday. But it is much more than a holiday. Juneteenth has become a day for African Americans to celebrate their freedom, culture, and achievements. It is a day for all Americans to celebrate African American history and rejoice in their freedom.

    Source: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/es/tx/es_tx_june_1.html

    • June 19, 2014

      Statement by the President on the Observance of Juneteenth

      On this day in 1865 – more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation – word finally reached Galveston, Texas that the slaves there were free.

      Juneteenth marked an important moment in the life of our nation. But it was only the beginning of a long and difficult struggle for equal rights and equal treatment under the law. This year, as we also mark the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, we honor those who continued to fight for equality and opportunity for Americans of every race and every background. And we recommit ourselves to the unending work of perfecting our Union.

    • June 19, 2014

      Statement by the President on the Observance of Juneteenth

      On this day in 1865 – more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation – word finally reached Galveston, Texas that the slaves there were free.

      Juneteenth marked an important moment in the life of our nation. But it was only the beginning of a long and difficult struggle for equal rights and equal treatment under the law. This year, as we also mark the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, we honor those who continued to fight for equality and opportunity for Americans of every race and every background. And we recommit ourselves to the unending work of perfecting our Union.

    • Catching Up with The Curator: Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st 1862–Waiting for the Hour

      Published on Feb 27, 2013

      Go inside the White House with White House Curator, Bill Allman, as he gives insight into the painting Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st 1862–Waiting for the Hour by William Carlton and learn why President Obama hand-picked this painting to hang just outside his office in the West Wing.

  7. June 19, 2014

    Statement by the President on Massachusetts Taking Action Toward Raising its Minimum Wage

    I commend the Massachusetts Legislature for standing up for working men and women in the Commonwealth and taking action toward raising the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017. Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, Massachusetts joins a growing coalition of states, cities and counties that are doing part to make sure no American working full-time has to support a family in poverty.

    I look forward to Governor Patrick signing this bill into law soon, and I urge Congress to follow Massachusetts’ lead and lift wages for 28 million Americans by raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

  8. https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/rainbow-flag.jpg?w=700

    Obama extends family leave rights of gay couples

    6/20/14 By By Mark Felsenthal – Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday will announce a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states, a White House official said.

    Currently, legally married couples are eligible for those benefits if they reside in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Obama is directing the Department of Labor to propose a rule extending the FMLA rights even to states where gay unions are not legal.

    The rule is being issued as Attorney General Eric Holder announces the results of a review of U.S. laws in the wake of the landmark 2013 Supreme Court Windsor decision that held that the survivor of a same-sex couple could claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses.

    The decision forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and has paved the way for the Obama administration to take steps to expand the legal rights of gay couples.

    The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical purposes.

    Holder is due to issue a review on Friday of how the more than 1,000 different federal rights and obligations linked to a marriage or a spouse are affected by the Windsor decision.

    Obama on Tuesday said he would sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, but he also told gay rights activists they need to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass a broader law.

    In February, Holder announced widespread changes within the Justice Department to benefit same-sex married couples, such as recognizing a legal right for them not to testify against each other in civil and criminal cases.

  9. Obamas want daughters to get taste of life on minimum wage

    6/20/14 By Roberta Rampton – Reuters

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and wife Michelle both worked minimum-wage jobs before they got law degrees: a character-building experience they said they also want their teenage daughters to share.

    The president scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, waited tables at an assisted-living facility for seniors and also worked as a painter. The first lady worked at a book binding shop.

    “I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work,” Michelle Obama said in an interview with Parade magazine, slated to run on Sunday.

    “We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” the president said. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/obamas-want-daughters-taste-life-minimum-wage-parade-050915047.html

  10. New Steps to Protect Pollinators, Critical Contributors to Our Nation’s Economy

    Bob Perciasepe, Krysta Harden June 20, 2014 11:18 AM EDT

    Today, President Obama issued a memorandum directing U.S. government agencies to take additional steps to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies – critical contributors to our nation’s economy, food system, and environmental health.

    Pollinators contribute substantially to the sustainability of our food production systems, the economic vitality of the agricultural sector, and the health of the environment. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops in the United States each year, and pollination by other species adds another $9 billion. In addition, pollinators help wild flowering plants grow, making ecosystems stronger and more resilient.

    But for decades, pollinator populations in the United States have been falling. The number of managed U.S. honey bee colonies dropped from 6 million colonies in 1947, to 4 million in 1970, 3 million in 1990, and just 2.5 million today. And last winter, the Monarch butterfly migration across North America was smaller than all previous migrations on record, and there is a risk that this iconic migration could end. These numbers highlight the importance of taking immediate steps to address these alarming declines and ensure the sustainability of our nation’s food production systems, economy, and environment.

    READ MORE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/06/20/new-steps-protect-pollinators-critical-contributors-our-nation-s-economy

    • June 20, 2014

      Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations

      Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators—including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies—from the environment. The problem is serious and poses a significant challenge that needs to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impacts on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.

      Economic Importance of Pollinators:

      * Insect pollination is integral to food security in the United States. Honey bees enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America. Globally, 87 of the leading 115 food crops evaluated are dependent on animal pollinators, contributing 35% of global food production.

      * Pollinators contribute more than 24 billion dollars to the United States economy, of which honey bees account for more than 15 billion dollars through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.

      * Native wild pollinators, such as bumble bees and alfalfa leafcutter bees, also contribute substantially to the domestic economy. In 2009, the crop benefits from native insect pollination in the United States were valued at more than 9 billion dollars.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/fact-sheet-economic-challenge-posed-declining-pollinator-populations

      • Tim Tucker
        President
        American Beekeeping Federation

        Press Release – June 24,2014

        On behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, I would like to express our appreciation to President Obama for his recent Presidential Memorandum, “Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.” It was a privilege to be asked to provide input into the process after our discovery meeting in Washington, D.C. on April 29, 2014. If implemented as written, there may be reason for hope in seeking solutions to our honey bee health issues. After more than seven years of research into the causes of pollinator health decline, the American Beekeeping Federation is encouraged to see a broad surge of interest in solving this problem, including what we deem as necessary intervention by the highest levels of government. As such, we strongly support the President’s FY2015 budget proposal to substantially enhance coordination between the USDA and other Federal agencies, improve reporting and data collection on bee health through the National Agricultural Statistical Service and increase federal resources dedicated to researching solutions. A concerted “all hands on deck” effort by government, industry and organizations working to protect all pollinator species will be needed to stem current trend of declining bee health, and the budget proposal seeks to harness just that level of effort in its proposed Innovation Institute on pollinator health.

        In directing a broad range of agencies to develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy with explicit goals and metrics to measure progress, we feel the Obama Memorandum offers hope for a solution to the problems facing honey bees. In our recommendations to the White House, we suggested that this initiative would require involvement by any and all who enjoy a diverse and varied diet, because that is what we have determined is fundamentally at stake. Most of what we eat and what adds rich diversity to American diets is those fruits and vegetables pollinated by honey bees and native pollinators. It is critical that we find answers to the issues that are causing our honey bees to fail to thrive in the manner they once did, ten to fifteen years ago.

        The Memorandum very correctly addresses our concerns in its action plan and does so in the order of priority and importance that the American Beekeeping Federation outlined to the President. It is our opinion that pesticides are being over used; the Memorandum instructs the EPA to evaluate pesticide use and develop improved methods of crop protection. It is imperative that we find alternatives to the current agricultural practices of utilizing pest prevention as opposed to pest control methodologies. The Memorandum also addresses the need for improvement in pollinator nutrition and seeks to correct the issue of reduced natural forage through increased acreage and forage value of pollinator habitat on Federal land and roadways. It is our hope that we are able to find safe areas for bees to utilize season-long forage with a variety of critical food sources. Accordingly, the Memorandum ambitiously directs the Council on Environmental Quality and the General Services Administration to develop plans for utilizing pollinator-friendly practices into site landscape performance requirements. Creating and maintaining high-quality habitats for pollinators can be a great step forward in providing habitat improvement. Directing the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers to improve the quality of forage along highways and on the 12 million acres supervised by the Army Corps can be a monumental step forward in replacing the many acres lost to corn and soybeans previously enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. We are also in need of new treatments for varroa mite and the viruses they vector; the initiative also addresses this concern.

        If this plan is developed to the standards of its initial design it could be of great value to our honey bees and all other pollinators that are experiencing serious decline. The American Beekeeping Federation is optimistic and hopeful that this initiative will mark a new beginning and a reversal of the trends in decline of so many affected species. We must protect our environment for future generations.

        Tim Tucker
        President
        American Beekeeping Federation

    • Fish and Wildlife Service to eliminate bee-killing pesticides from protected lands

      Some good news for the imperiled pollinators

      JUL 14, 2014 03:01 PM PDT LINDSAY ABRAMS – tpm

      Are the bees finally beginning to catch a break? Highlighting the toxic chemicals’ “potential broad-spectrum adverse effects to non-target species,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week quietly announced plans to eliminate the use of bee-killing pesticides in wildlife refuges.

      The FWS memo, flagged by the Center for Food Safety, announces a gradual phasing out of the class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, on National Wildlife Refuge Lands for the Pacific Region – which includes Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington — building up to their complete elimination by January 2016. Over 8,700 acres of cropland falls within that region, and while pesticides aren’t generally used in refuge management, the agency notes that an undetermined amount of neonicotinoids likely find their way into the protected areas by way of treated seeds.

      A FWS official pointed Salon to information included with the memo, which confirms that the decline in bee populations, of which neonicotinoid use is believed to be a contributing factor, is the driving justification for the phase-out. “While the use of neonics on refuges is limited,” the memo reads, “the persistence and systemic action have the long-term potential to adversely impact refuge invertebrates, especially native bee fauna and other pollinators.”

      For more: http://www.salon.com/2014/07/14/fish_and_wildlife_service_to_eliminate_bee_killing_pesticides_from_protected_lands/

  11. GOP WRONG WAY

    The House GOP’s New No. 3 Leader Is A Hard-Core Conservative

    SAHIL KAPUR – JUNE 20, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

    The next third-ranking leader of the House Republican conference is a fierce conservative who has often voted against the initiatives of Speaker John Boehner and makes the existing leadership team look rather moderate by comparison.

    Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise was first elected to the House in a 2008 special election. He represents a deeply conservative district in southern Louisiana that was most recently represented by Bobby Jindal and David Vitter and hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1977.

    A major issue in his successful campaign to replace Kevin McCarthy, who will succeed ousted Rep. Eric Cantor as majority leader, was that nobody in Republican leadership represented a red state. Currently each of the top four leaders hails from a state that elected Barack Obama twice (Ohio, Virginia, California and Washington). The restless South wanted to rise again.

    According to the guardians of right-wing purity, Scalise’s voting record is one of the most conservative in Congress. Heritage Action ranks him in the top 10 percent — slightly less conservative than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) but more conservative than Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Club For Growth rates him as nearly as conservative as Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX).

    For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/steve-scalise-new-house-majority-whip

  12. June 20, 2014

    Remarks by the First Lady at Summer Learning Day Event

    Department of Education
    Washington, D.C.

    11:43 A.M. EDT

    MRS. OBAMA: How exciting is it? (Applause.) That’s how excited I am. But let me start by thanking Marielena for that very kind introduction. We are so proud of you and what you’re going to be doing with your life. That’s good stuff. Yes! (Applause.) And I know all of you have a story like that. I wish I could hear about every story, but we can’t. But I’m proud of you guys. I really am.

    I also want to thank Sarah Pitcock from the National Summer Learning Association for her leadership and for helping to organize this event today. I also particularly want to recognize everyone at the Department of Education, not only Undersecretary Ted Mitchell and your Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, Massie Ritsch, but all the staffers here who have joined us today who are working so hard on behalf of kids across the country. I’m so proud of you, and thankful for your work — especially the guidance and support you’ve given to our development of Reach Higher, the initiative that Marielena spoke about, where we want to inspire young people to complete their education beyond high school.

    And I want to especially thank the Department of Education for letting me steal somebody important from you — your Deputy Chief of Staff Eric Waldo, who’s doing an outstanding job as the Executive Director for Reach Higher. This is his original home, but we stole him. And he’s doing great work for us.

    And most importantly, I want to give a big shoutout to all of the young people that we have here with us today — yay to you guys. (Applause.) You guys are coming from all over the country — places like Alabama and Kentucky; we’ve got folks from right here in D.C. You guys are coming from everywhere. (Applause.) And I just spent some time talking to some really terrific young people about what you all are up to this summer, and it is really very cool.

    You’re learning important things like cooking healthy foods and building Habitat houses. And you’re learning about city planning by building Lego cities — that was really pretty cool.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/remarks-first-lady-summer-learning-day-event

  13. June 20, 2014

    White House Releases the United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan

    Today the White House released the United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan.

    The United States has long been a leader in maritime security, including in countering the threat of piracy. Since 2009, the United States has organized and led the international effort that has seen successful pirate attacks decline off the coast of Somalia dramatically.

    In the spirit of this leadership and in ensuring safety at sea, the United States developed the Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan. This Plan implements the National Strategy for Maritime Security, and the Policy for the Repression of Piracy and other Criminal Acts of Violence at Sea. The United States will continue to seek to strengthen regional governance and rule of law to maintain the safety and security of mariners, preserve freedom of the seas, and promote free flow of commerce through lawful economic activity.

    The Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan provides clear strategic guidance for counter-piracy efforts and outlines that the United States will use all appropriate instruments of national power to repress piracy and related maritime crimes. The Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan focuses on three core areas: Prevention of Attacks, Response to Acts of Maritime Crime, and Enhancing Maritime Security and Governance; and provides specific frameworks for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea regions. These frameworks establish the tailored and specific methodology for these regions and provide guidance on how the United States will respond to the regional threats associated with the varying geographic, political, and legal environments.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/white-house-releases-united-states-counter-piracy-and-maritime-security-

  14. June 20, 2014

    Op-Ed by President Obama on the 70th Anniversary of the GI Bill

    In an op-ed published in Military Times, President Obama reflects on the 70th Anniversary of the GI Bill, and how the investments we make in veterans help produce the leaders America needs.

    The following op-ed by President Obama appeared in Military Times:

    http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140620/NEWS01/306200067/Obama-Post-9-11-GI-Bill-keeps-promise-newest-vets

    You pick the school, and we’ll help pick up the bill.

    That’s the basic promise America made to our veterans of World War II seventy years ago with the signing of the original GI Bill. It’s the same promise we’re keeping with our newest veterans and their families through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Now as then, investing in the education and skills of our veterans is one of the smartest investments we can make in America.

    For some eight million World War II veterans, the original GI Bill meant the chance to realize a college education, get on-the-job training or buy their first home. They became teachers and small business owners, doctors and nurses, engineers and scientists. One of them was my grandfather. A soldier in Patton’s Army, he came home, went to college on the GI Bill and raised his family. In his later years he helped raise me, too.

    The GI Bill also transformed America. With the careers it sparked, the homes it helped our veterans buy, and the prosperity it generated, it paid for itself several times over and helped lay the foundation for the largest middle class in history.

    Like generations before them, our men and women in uniform today deserve the chance to live the American Dream they helped to defend. That’s why, under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, we’ve already helped more than one million veterans and family members pursue their education.

    Now, with our troops coming home from Afghanistan and a new generation of veterans returning to civilian life, even more will be eligible for this opportunity in the years to come. As Commander in Chief, I want everyone who is eligible to know what the Post-9/11 GI Bill can do for them. A good place to start is benefits.va.gov/gibill/, which has important information on the benefits available, including assistance to help pay for tuition, housing and books, and how to transfer benefits to a family member.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/op-ed-president-obama-70th-anniversary-gi-bill

  15. June 20, 2014

    Readout of the President’s Call with San Antonio Spur’s Coach Popovich

    This afternoon, the President called San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to congratulate him on his team’s resounding victory in the NBA Finals. The President praised the selfless teamwork, clear focus, and steadfast determination displayed by the Spurs and noted how impressed he was by the record-setting scoring by the team. The President called Popovich one of the nation’s finest coaches and a role model for young men across the country, and he is looking forward to hosting the team at the White House.

  16. June 20, 2014

    Readout of the President’s Call with LA Kings Captain Dustin Brown

    Today, the President offered his congratulations to Dustin Brown, captain of the LA Kings, for a dominant showing in this year’s Stanley Cup. The President mentioned the perseverance demonstrated by the Kings early in their playoff run, particularly noting the team’s stunning comeback. The President also praised Brown’s play in the Winter Olympic Games and the sportsmanship that Brown demonstrated as a leader on Team USA. The President looks forward to hosting the Stanley Cup champions at the White House.

  17. June 20, 2014

    Presidential Proclamation — 70th Anniversary of the GI Bill of Rights

    70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GI BILL OF RIGHTS

    ——-

    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    A PROCLAMATION

    In the Second World War, a generation risked their lives for people they had never met and ideals none of us could live without. As they fought to liberate a continent and safeguard the American way of life, our Nation resolved to serve them as well as they were serving us. After months of heated debate and hard-fought compromise, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill of Rights.

    When patriots who had left our shores as barely more than boys returned as heroes, the GI Bill allowed them to launch their civilian lives. It provided unemployment benefits, home loan guaranties, and subsidies for a college education. This bill marked the first time higher education was available to large cross-sections of the American people. Because veterans took advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, our Nation developed the most talented workforce in history. Millions excelled in their careers, started families, bought new homes, or even started new businesses, helping to build the greatest middle class the world has ever known.

    The GI Bill proved that America prospers when we put a good education within the reach of those willing to work for it. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, our Nation has extended this chance to a new generation. This law has helped more than a million veterans, service members, and military families pursue a college education. And across our country, employers can tap into a vast pool of talent — men and women who are not only highly educated but have also served with honor in the most dangerous corners of the earth.

    Today, let us celebrate 70 years of opportunity. Let us remember our sacred debt to our veterans and recall that when we give them the chance to excel, there is no limit to what they might accomplish.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 22, 2014, as the 70th Anniversary of the GI Bill of Rights. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. 

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

    BARACK OBAMA

  18. *******************
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