Obama expands protected waters off Hawaii


President Obama will use his power to designate national monuments on Friday to create the world's largest protected marine area off the coast of Hawaii, the White House said.

Obama will more than quadruple the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, to 582,578 square miles — more than 50 times larger than the land area of the Hawaiian Islands themselves.

The White House also announced that Obama would travel to the region next week, visiting the landmark Midway Atoll at the western edge of the area to address the threat of climate change and the importance of protecting public lands and waters.

He'll also visit his native Hawaii to take part in a conference of Pacific Island leaders and a world conservation conference in Honolulu. From there, he's scheduled to attend a summit of the Group of 20 world leaders in China.