In a move aimed at addressing one of the most pressing environmental threats today -- the troubled state of the planet's oceans -- President Obama has announced a proposal which would transform an enormous swath of the South Pacific into what would be the largest marine sanctuary in the world.
Under executive order, Obama's plan involves expanding the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, already some 87,000 square miles, to include as many as 700,000 additional square miles surrounding seven islands and atolls controlled by the U.S. South .
"I'm going to use my authority to protect some of our nation's most precious marine landscapes," Obama said in a video presented to the State Department's Our Ocean's Conference. "We cannot afford to let that happen. That's why the United States is leading the fight to protect our oceans."
The White House is said to be finalizing the proposed sanctuary with the input of both biologists, and fishermen who could be affected by the expansion -- though conservationists are hoping the President will "be bold" in drawing the new boundaries.