June 17 - The actor commits $7 million from his foundation to support meaningful ocean conservation projects. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama announced new efforts to protect areas of the Pacific Ocean controlled by the United States from overfishing and environmental damage on Tuesday (June 17). Appearing in a video message at the State Department's "Our Ocean" conference, Obama said he was "directing the federal government to create a national strategy to combat black market fishing that threatens our oceans, undermines our economy, and often supports dangerous criminals." "And like Presidents Clinton and Bush before me, I'm going to use my authority as president to protect some of our most precious marine landscapes, just like we do for mountains, rivers and forests," he added. According to the White House, Obama's proposal is due to go into effect later this year. It includes a plan to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to nearly 782,000 square miles (2.03 million sq km) from 87,000 square miles (225,000 sq km) and would affect seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States, the Washington Post reported. Actor Leonard DiCaprio was also in attendance and pledged to donate an additional seven million dollars from his foundation toward "meaningful ocean conservation projects over the next two years." "We have systematically devastated our global fisheries through destructive practices like bottom-trolling, where huge nets drag across the bottom of the ocean for miles, literally scraping up everything in their path, permanently destroying abundant underwater forest, teeming with every possible imaginable form of wildlife," said DiCaprio. A comment period over the summer will allow the Commerce and Interior departments to hear objections and fine-tune Obama's plan.