May 9, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
House Democrats Call on NOAA to Assist With Tsunami Debris
“Tsunami debris threatens Alaskan coastal resources, communities and economies”
JUNEAU – Today, eight members of the Alaska House Democratic Caucus called on the federal government to create an aggressive plan to protect Alaska’s coastline from the threat posed by debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan.
“This debris could cause serious ecological, health and safety concerns for our coastal communities, not to mention significant economic impacts that could ripple throughout the state,” said House Democratic Leader Beth Kerttula (Juneau). “We know it’s coming—the first of it is already here. We need federal resources to get an idea of what we’re up against so we can develop the best way to deal with these waves of debris that could keep coming for months or more.”
In a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the legislators outline some of Alaskans’ concerns about the tsunami debris and ask her to allocate the resources necessary to assess the potential impacts and develop an aggressive plan to minimize the risks to Alaska. House Democrats stand ready to work with federal, state and local entities to protect Alaskans from any negative effects from the tsunami debris.
“We request that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration make the necessary resources available to assess the potential magnitude of what could be a prolonged torrent of debris littering Alaska’s coastline. We also request the agency to set in place an aggressive plan to minimize and mitigate the damage to Alaska’s coastal resources,” states the letter.
According to the Homer Tribune, observers have documented unprecedented amounts of debris on Montague Island and other islands in the Gulf of Alaska including hazardous materials and containers of fuel and other toxins.
Read the letter: http://www.akhouse.org/docs/050912_Tsunami_Debris_Letter.pdf