Alaska’s share of the funding — expected to be $1 million — dwarfs the $50,000 grant the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in July it would give the state.
The announcement came during Noda’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and was hailed by Alaska leaders as a victory in the fight against marine debris expected to arrive on Alaska shores from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami.
“I hope this spurs on discussions and plans on the international, federal, state and local level to address this looming issue not just for Alaska — where we have more coastline miles than the rest of the country, combined — but for the four other states who are dealing with this threat,” wrote Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a letter. “On behalf of the Alaskans who will benefit from this gesture, I say ‘Domo Arigato.’”
Sen. Mark Begich, who decried the NOAA contribution as “woefully inadequate,” offered his thanks as well. “Alaskans greatly appreciate this gift … to the U.S. to help combat this debris as a goodwill gesture between two close friends, trading partners, and allies.”
Marine debris response in Alaska is being coordinated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. For more information about the state’s program, visit http://dec.alaska.gov/commish/tsunami-debris/