Two bills aimed at helping coastal communities deal with marine debris advanced in Congress on Wednesday.
Alaska Congressman Don Young, a co-sponsor, says they would make it easier for local, state and tribal governments to get money to remove rubbish that floats to their shores.
One bill would broaden the ability the federal government to reimburse communities for cleaning up debris stemming from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, using $5 million Japan donated last year.
The other would speed grants to communities in the midst of a severe debris event. Young says the bill doesn’t appropriate funds so it’s unclear how much would be available.
Both bills cleared the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.
Japan estimates the tsunami washed 5 million tons of debris out to sea.
NOAA said in September the greatest concentration of flotsam is likely to be northeast of Hawaii, about half way to the West Coast of the U.S., but that the debris field extends to Southeast Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska.
- A National Weather Service meteorologist says warm ocean temperatures and less sea ice suggest this year's winter could be close to normal.
- Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has ordered that Native communities and their traditional ecological knowledge be considered in future federal land management decisions.
- The first marijuana shop in the state has its license to open and it's in Skagway. The Remedy Shoppe must now wait for the state to give the green light to marijuana testing facilities before its shelves are stocked.
- Sen. Dan Sullivan said he is trying to make Congress aware of more than 30 villages that still don't have running water or sewers.