PRESERVING PALMYRA

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HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN Honolulu, Hawai‘i

EDITORIAL November 12, 1998

PRESERVING PALMYRA

Palmyra Atoll, 1,000 miles south of Hawai‘i, is listed as the top priority for purchase by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 1999. With the help of the Nature Conservancy, a private, nonprofit organization, the service may get its wish.

Both are negotiating with the longtime owners, the Fullard-Leo family of Honolulu. If the Nature Conservancy succeeds in buying the atoll, it will sell it to the federal government.

The Fullard-Leos have refused offers to develop Palmyra into a gambling resort, a fish processing center, a rocket-launching site and a nuclear waste dump. Robert Smith, Pacific islands manager for the Fish and Wildlife Service, says the agency is interested in Palmyra because of "its outstanding rain forest, incredible sea bird colony and beautiful marine life."

Palmyra holds the wreck of a Spanish galleon, supposedly loaded with treasure. It was the site of a much-publicized double murder in 1974. But its main value is as a "tropical Garden of Eden. "That's worth preserving."

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