According to this article, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) urged the head of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today to step up programs to analyze the potential danger of debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami to Washington’s coastal economy.
During an Oceans, Fisheries, Coast Guard, and Atmosphere Subcommittee hearing today, Cantwell questioned NOAA head Dr. Jane Lubchenco on the agency’s readiness to address the threat tsunami debris poses to Washington state’s coastal economy. President Obama’s FY13 budget proposes a 25 percent cut to NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.
After a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, 2011, an enormous amount of debris was washed out to sea. Currently, the debris is spread out across an area measuring 2,000 by 1,000 nautical miles and is expected to reach Hawaii later this year and Washington state starting in early 2013. Washington state’s coastal economy supports 165,000 jobs and produces $10.8 billion in economic activity each year.
Cantwell urged Lubchenco today to come up with a plan to address the threat tsunami debris may pose to the coastal economy.