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Murkowski: “We Are All Connected” on Tsunami Damage, Efforts

Senator Commemorates Two Year Mark of Japanese Disaster on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the two year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke on the Senate floor to remind her colleagues and the nation of the long road ahead to rebuilding that country, the increasing risks and threats along the Pacific Coast posed by marine debris – and that this disaster has created a more intense bond between the Japanese people and Alaskans.

Murkowski also made the case again for an interagency task force to be formed, for federal agencies to proactively work together and halt any harmful impacts on Pacific coasts.

“As we continue to see increased levels of debris coming over from the tsunami, it’s imperative that we act to address it.  It’s been interesting in the Alaska press – there have been ongoing stories about the connections.  You think Japan is thousands of miles away and we don’t have that connect there.

“The beachcombers found a soccer ball with a name of a Japanese 16 year old boy and his phone number.  They made that call back to the village of Rikuzentakata and told that young man whose family lost everything in the tsunami ‘We’ve got your soccer ball here. It made it to the shore of Middleton Island in Alaska.  For that young man to have the soccer ball delivered after everything else he and his family owned was wiped out, was a reminder that we are all connected here.  How we can be working together to help one another is key.

“In Alaska, we have experience in helping our neighbors out.  We will continue to work to address the issues surrounding debris hitting our shore.  But we do need a little bit of help from our government here. We do need a little help when it comes to advancing an interagency task force so that we can address what we are seeing on our coastlines in Alaska, in the Pacific Northwest and in Hawaii as well.”

Click here to watch the speech in its entirety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWP9S8sohtA

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