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.
- Authorities re-routed traffic on Egan drive for a half hour after a two-vehicle collision Saturday.
- A French ship docked in Unalaska is bound for Nome, where the crew will lay fiber optic cable.
- Columbia Ferry breaks down and strands tourists in Petersburg.
- Gov. Bill Walker has signed legislation he says will provide more timber for Alaska’s mills. But it probably won’t be that much of an increase.