Murkowski Urges Federal Action on Tsunami Debris
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today stressed to the federal government that “we need to act now” and begin addressing the national problem of tsunami debris approaching the Pacific shore. In a speech delivered on the U.S. Senate floor, Murkowski discussed the urgency of action and a comprehensive plan for the national problem. (Click here for the entire floor speech)
Senator Murkowski has also recommended to the White House that a task force be formed among related bureaus and agencies that deal with similar issues in other regions throughout the United States. (FEMA, Interior, Defense, Commerce, Homeland Security, etc.
In her speech, Senator Murkowski pointed out the federal responsibility involved with Alaska’s shores, where much of the land is federally-owned:
“Given the tight budgets that are all around the country, we need to be creative. We need to identify and deploy and share information. We need to leverage local knowledge and our coastal residents’ proximity to – and vested interest in – the cleanup efforts. Our federal agencies have regional coastal staff. They have facilities and resources. Many run programs that are consistent with the objectives of tsunami debris response and mitigation. For those who would suggest ‘if it came up on your shores, it’s your responsibility, there’s no federal role here. It’s up to the state to figure it out.’ I would remind those people that in my state, most of our coastline is owned by the federal government.”
Senator Murkowski has been following this issue since the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami of 2011, that sent massive amounts of debris into the Pacific Ocean. She held a tsunami debris roundtable in January and gathered experts in Anchorage to share their research and observations with Alaskans statewide watching via webcast.