On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee released a Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Funding bill, which included $150 million for fishery disaster relief and $56 million for marine debris efforts to be shared by several states, including Alaska.
According to the National Review Online, both Alaska U.S. senators, Democratic Mark Begich and Republican Lisa Murkowski, support the incoming aid. In a statement Sen. Begich said that both the salmon shortfall and tsunami debris problem are "very real and very serious disasters." He added that the fisheries disaster was declared so "by the federal government" in September, but that Alaskans are "still waiting for relief." And, although Japan generously gifted $5 million to help with the tsunami clean up, debris still "poses serious navigational hazards and risks to coastal communities" in Alaska.
Sen. Murkowski backed Sen. Begich up with a press release supporting aid to both disasters. Murkowski said:
I believe the future destruction of the slow-motion threat posed by tsunami debris can be lessened through more action now. That’s why I asked the Appropriations Committee Chairs, Senators Inouye and Cochran for $20 million in debris cleanup on Monday and look forward to making our case to NOAA to ensure a robust portion of this funding is used to protect our shores from tsunami debris.
(And) Alaska’s Chinook fisheries were declared a disaster exactly three months ago, but no funds have been appropriated to help communities and businesses impacted yet. This bill will go a long way in providing federal resources to Alaskans who suffered economically because of this year’s low King Salmon run get back on their feet.
The $150 million from the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Funding bill for fisheries and marine debris will be split between Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and New England.