A bill proposed by Republican congressman Darrell Issa to rename almost all waters surrounding the United States in honour of former President Ronald Reagan, was heard this week in the U.S House Natural Resources Committee.

The Exclusive Economic Zone ( EEZ) would be renamed to “The Ronald Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone of The United States”.

Criticism came from Democratic congressman Alan Lowenthal who argued that Americans “don’t live in the United States of Coolidge, or fly through the Warren G Harding airspace. Why should we steam or sail on the Reagan ocean?” He also noted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which generally ratifies a nation’s claiming of an EEZ, has never been passed by the United States.

TheJournal.ie reported that the bill is the latest in a series of attempts to rename the area, and Republicans defended the legislation saying that Reagan proclaimed sovereignty over the area during his presidency in 1983. They also said he was a President who “served with the highest distinction.”

The EEZ compromises ocean from 12 to 200 nautical miles off the shore of the U.S, amounting to a total of 3.4 million square nautical miles or 5.4 million square kilometres. It is bigger than all 50 states combined and is described as an area in which the country can “assert certain sovereign rights over natural resources and related jurisdiction.” including navigation, overflight, and complete management of natural resources.

The former President already has a large list of locations named in his honour, including the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Ireland’s EEZ is over 400,000 kilometres square, more than 4 times our land area.