June 17, 2014 / 11:47 AM / 4 years ago

Obama to protect vast Pacific Ocean areas - report

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce efforts to protect areas of the Pacific Ocean controlled by the United States from overfishing and environmental damage, the Washington Post said on Tuesday.

The measure is likely to please environmental advocates but annoy political opponents, who accuse Obama of conducting an imperial presidency by frequently resorting to unilateral actions without seeking congressional approval.

Obama’s proposal, due to go into effect later this year, would create a vast marine sanctuary and is part of an effort to safeguard more ocean territory, the report said, citing an administration official. The White House was unable to immediately confirm the report.

The president’s plan would expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to nearly 782,000 square miles from 87,000 square miles and would affect seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States.

A comment period over the summer will allow the Commerce and Interior departments to hear objections and fine-tune the plan, the report said. (Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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