(Washington) Joe Biden on Tuesday classified as protected “national monuments” two gigantic natural spaces, one in Texas and the other in Nevada, and plans to create a marine sanctuary in the Pacific, according to the White House.
The American president conferred this protective status on the territory of Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada (west), which is a sacred place for the local indigenous tribes, and on that of Castner Range in Texas (south), i.e. a total area of more of 2,000 square kilometers or 200,000 hectares, the executive said in a statement.
“The whole world envies our natural wonders. They have always been and always will be a central part of our common heritage, and an essential component of our national identity,” Joe Biden said in announcing the decisions in a speech in Washington.
“In my first year in office, we protected more territory and water spaces than any president since John F. Kennedy,” he recalled.
The status of “national monument” gives the places thus designated protection against any new economic or real estate development project, because of their natural or historical interest. It is also synonymous with tourist benefits.
Joe Biden will also initiate a reflection on the creation of a marine sanctuary around the “remote islands of the Pacific”, a set of seven islands and atolls sheltering a rich marine fauna and flora.
The White House also pointed out that Joe Biden had passed “the most ambitious climate law” in American history, in particular to support the energy transition.
The US president has been widely criticized recently by environmental groups for giving the green light to a disputed oil drilling project in Alaska, dubbed “Willow”.