Cost Recovery Part Of West Coast Tsunami Debris Cleanup Discussion

Apr 25, 2012

Thursday in Ocean Shores, Washington, dozens of people from government, tribes and community groups strategized how to respond to marine debris from last year's Japanese tsunami.

Similar meetings took place last week on the Oregon coast. Cost recovery is one concern on the minds of cash-strapped government planners. They worry about the possibility of a hazardous materials cleanup or a derelict boat removal. Washington Department of Ecology Spills Program spokesman Curt Hart says planners are even asking whether to send the bill to Japan.

Curt Hart: "We always seek to recoup our response costs and environmental damages. How that would work when you... coming over from Japan, that's something that needs to be sorted through."

Tsunami debris is arriving on our shores sooner than first predicted. So far, only a handful of items can be definitively traced to Japan's tsunami zone. One is a soccer ball that had a child's name and town written on it. Another is that abandoned fishing boat that the U.S. Coast Guard scuttled off southeast Alaska earlier this month.