U.S. President Joe Biden has stated his intention to protect it from development by designating the Hudson Canyon, a giant underwater chasm, as a national marine sanctuary.
Hudson Canyon is the largest undersea canyon in the United States, part of the Atlantic Ocean, located about 100 miles south of New York City. A biodiversity hotspot, it is home to sperm whales, cold-water coral, sea turtles, and other rare and endangered species.
Compared to the Grand Canyon, the site can be up to seven miles wide and more than a half-mile deep. Shipwrecks, including freighters and U.S. military radar systems, are also believed to have been found at the site, some of which date back to the 19th century.
If designated as a sanctuary, the federal government would have greater control over activities permitted in the Hudson Canyon. After a public comment period, the rules for the sanctuary will be finalized.
As the government noted in a press release, “the canyon’s unique biodiversity is essential to the region’s economy,” “underpinning commercial and recreational fisheries.”
The Chumash Heritage National Marine Refuge proposed last year off the coast of central California was Biden’s first support for a marine sanctuary.
Biden made a vow to save 30 percent of the United States’ land and water by 2030 as part of a worldwide effort to combat climate change before he was elected president.
Over 620,000 square miles of aquatic ecosystems are protected by 15 underwater parks and two national monuments within the United States.
According to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, New York’s most heavily inhabited area might benefit from an ocean and canyon refuge.
The Hudson Canyon site might also serve as an environmental bellwether to monitor the consequences of climate change, according to the EPA.
However, it is still unclear how the location will be formally recognized. The public is invited to participate in a series of online and in-person sessions this summer to provide feedback on the proposal.
By 2032, single-use plastic items like bottled water will no longer be sold in national parks and other public lands under the Department of the Interior’s purview. Resurrecting a ban first suggested under the Obama administration, that former President Trump later overturned.
Despite his best efforts, President Biden has been unable to get his most ambitious climate change ideas passed by Congress. Because of this, he has taken executive action in an effort to achieve his environmental goals.
Biden announced a slew of other measures on Monday, including a two-year tariff exemption for the United States’ solar industry in an effort to counteract the negative impacts of a government inquiry that had significantly limited the number of new solar energy projects.
Other renewable energy technologies like building insulation and efficient heat pumps for buildings were also cited by President Biden in his Defense Production Act speech.