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.
- The partnerships are racing to clean up as much of the stuff as possible by 2020 when federal funding for the projects is scheduled to run out.
- Some Republicans in Congress say they could partly fix the federal health law by again separating people who buy insurance into two categories — sick and healthy. Critics say it won't save money.
- A federal appeals court ruled that part of the state's "Docs vs. Glocks" law limiting what doctors can ask patients about guns in the home violates the First Amendment right to free speech.
- The Washington-based political strategist has worked on several Alaska campaigns could be in line to be President Donald Trump's communications director. The Wall Street Journal and other national news outlets are reporting that Mike Dubke is about to be named to the post.