Begich calls NOAA awards 'inadequate'

Associated PressJuly 17, 2012 

JUNEAU -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday said it will provide $250,000 in grants to five states affected by debris from last year's Japan tsunami.

The agency said Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii will each receive up to $50,000 toward debris removal from its marine debris program. Money could be made available as early as this month.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, quickly deemed the amount "woefully inadequate." He said in a statement the tsunami created a "slow-motion environmental disaster that will unfold over several years."He said $50,000 isn't enough to clean up one beach "let alone the type of effort necessary for a large-scale planning and cleanup effort covering multiple states."

Begich had requested at least $45 million in funding.

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