Larsen Pushes for Marine Debris Cleanup Funds to Help Pacific States Address 2011 Japanese Tsunami

Jan 14, 2013 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, is pushing legislation that would provide federal funding to Pacific states that are dealing with marine debris stemming from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami.

“Marine debris is a costly problem that puts seafarers and ecosystems at risk in coastal communities across the country,” Larsen said. “Pacific states like Washington need more support as they struggle to deal with the huge volume of Japanese tsunami marine debris washing up on our shores.”

Larsen introduced an amendment to a disaster relief funding bill that Congress is considering this week. The amendment would let the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have greater discretion over marine debris cleanup funds currently earmarked for Superstorm Sandy.

“Just last month an entire Japanese dock washed up on the Washington state coast,” Larsen said. “Our state and local governments do not have the resources to deal with this problem, which can cost as much as $4,300 per ton of debris that comes ashore. My amendment will help Pacific states protect their communities and clean up the mess that the tsunami left behind.”

The amendment is cosponsored by Reps. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, and Jared Huffman, D-Calif.