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US President Barack Obama will sign the bill on Thursday, setting out plans for a new environmental zone encompassing seven desert islands and coral atolls existing under US juridiction.
The current Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument territory between the Hawaiian islands and Samoa will be expanded sixfold to become a marine-protected area (MPA).The zone will ban any business activity there, including commercial fishing and mining operations.
American scientists believe the region has a tropical marine environment with unique animal and vegetal life that needs protection, seeking to defend deep-sea coral reefs thought most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.