OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Monday a state plan to address tsunami debris that reaches the state’s coast from Japan but stressed that federal help is needed.
“We don’t have the resources at the state level to do what we’re going to have to do here,” she said at a news conference at a beachside hotel in Ocean Shores, Wash.
Gregoire noted that the Department of Ecology has been approved to use $100,000 from its litter cleanup account for tsunami debris removal. However, a “steady dribble” of tsunami debris is expected over the next few years that will require more money, though she said the cost of the cleanup is unknown.
“We are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our beaches and our coastal communities clean and safe,” she said.
Gregoire announced a “Clean Shoreline Initiative” to be led by Washington National Guard commander Timothy Lowenberg, and includes the state Department of Health, Ecology and other agencies.
Gregoire said the debris is not yet at a level where she needs to call out the National Guard or seek money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I can’t declare an emergency until I actually have one on my hands,” she said.
In March, Gregoire joined the governors of Oregon and California and the premier of British Columbia in announcing that they would collaborate to manage debris from the tsunami that might wash up along the West Coast.