Cantwell and Begich Call on Obama Administration to Free Funds to Study Fukushima Debris

Senators Mark Begich and Maria Cantwell Friday called on the Obama administration to free up emergency funding from the National Science Foundation to research the debris floating across the Pacific from the Japan earthquake and tsunami of a year ago.

At a press conference Friday in Seattle, Begich said the debris could affect fisheries, tourism and shipping. Oyster buoys, damaged ships and other junk have already been found from Prince of Wales Island to the Aleutians. Cantwell cited a derelict fishing boat spotted this week near northern British Columbia as an example of what’s to come.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.