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Posted: Friday, December 7th, 2012 9:05 AM HST

Senator seeks $15M for tsunami debris

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) An Alaska senator wants $15 million for tsunami debris clean-up included in a federal disaster relief package for West Coast states affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Sen. Mark Begich says the impact of debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan reaching U.S. shores is every bit the natural disaster as a hurricane it's just unfolding in slow motion.

He says it's embarrassing that the government of Japan has put more funding toward the cleanup than the U.S. government has.

Japan has pledged $5 million for tsunami debris cleanup, more than the entire National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget for dealing with marine debris in general in 2012. Begich said he considers a three-to-one match of the Japanese funding "the very least" the federal government can do.

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