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Statesman Journal: Bills Target Tsunami Debris

statesman_journal | Dec. 5, 2013 2:56 a.m. | Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 11:02 a.m.

Contributed By:

Tracy Loew

Two bills that would increase funding for cleaning up Japanese tsunami debris have been passed by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the bills earlier this year.

One would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to refund Oregon, other states, and local and tribal governments for tsunami debris cleanup expenses using

$5 million donated by Japan.

The other would allow NOAA to give preference to communities facing severe marine debris events when allocating funding through NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.

“The debris from the tsunami that tragically affected Japan continues to wash up along our coastline,” Bonamici said. “Now that the committee has acted on this legislation it can be considered on the House floor. I’m working with my friends across the aisle to have a vote scheduled.”

Thousands of tons of debris washed into the Pacific Ocean when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan in March 2011.

One of the largest pieces of debris, a 55-foot concrete dock, arrived on Agate Beach in Newport on June 5, 2012.

More tsunami debris is expected this winter, as storms bring winds out of the west.

Beach debris

Suspected Japanese tsunami debris can be reported by calling 211 or emailing the location, data and photos to beach.debris@state.or.us.

Official beach cleanup bags are available at all coastal state park offices and can be left near state park parking lot garbage cans or trailheads.

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