Murkowski Calls for White House Action on Looming Tsunami Debris

Senator Urges President Obama to Create “Essential” Interagency Task Force

Senator Lisa Murkowski is advising President Barack Obama to act immediately to prevent additional damage to Alaska’s shores from approaching debris resulting from the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  In a letter to the White House (attached), the Senator recommended taking preemptory actions by instructing several federal agencies to work together and halt any unnecessary harmful impacts, writing:

“I have already seen the impacts of this debris in Alaska while touring coastal areas and can confirm that more action is needed.  It is essential that your Administration establish a plan on how the United States will prepare for and recover from this debris as it reaches our waters and shores.”

Co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, Senator Murkowski reminded President Obama that several agencies have expertise regarding debris removal, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, State and others.  Murkowski urged him to have these agencies work together to limit the damage from tsunami debris through an interagency task force.

As the threat of debris-related damage emerged this year, Senator Murkowski held a January tsunami debris roundtable in Anchorage to explore the levels of work being done by state agencies and inform the public about the reality of the situation.  (Click here to watch the roundtable).  Senator Murkowski conducted an aerial survey of the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound earlier this month to evaluate the higher levels of debris being seen in the water.