FEMA Trailers Back In The News

FEMA Trailers Back In The News


We talked about this in July 2007, and now FEMA has finally issued a warning that people need to move out of their FEMA-issued trailers because they could be bad for their health.

From USA Today:

NEW ORLEANS — Paul Stewart knew as soon as he moved into his government-issued trailer in December 2005 that something was wrong. He said it wasn’t long before he started waking up with a scratchy throat. His wife, Melody, woke up with bloody noses.

The couple, who had lost their home in Bay St. Louis, Miss., during the Gulf Coast hurricanes, said they asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a new trailer. But they were refused.

On Thursday, FEMA admitted what the Stewarts and thousands of other displaced Gulf Coast residents have feared all along: their government-issued trailers were toxic. The revelation came after months of congressional hearings and allegations by whistle-blowers that FEMA suppressed evidence of formaldehyde fumes.

Here’s what was revealed about FEMA’s knowledge of this last year…

Dozens of pages of internal FEMA emails released by the committee revealed the agency’s deliberate ignorance of field staff who were concerned about formaldehyde gas being emitted in trailers housing displaced residents. The documents revealed an agency that seemed more concerned with preventing potential lawsuits than with the health of those living in their mobile homes. “Recently discovered documents make it appear FEMA’s primary concerns were legal liability and public relations, not human health and safety,” said Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican. FEMA administrator R. David Paulison, who received stern questioning from both sides of the aisle, admitted that, “in hindsight, we could have moved faster to address [concerns].”

[…] Yet, in response to complaints, FEMA’s legal department advised that testing “would imply FEMA’s ownership of the issue.” Another read, “Do not initiate any testing until we give the OK…Should [tests] indicate some problem, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them.”


  • http://across-the-grain.com BenG

    Well at least we know why Repubs don’t go for big Gov. They really suck @ it! Way too worried bout their own asses to help those poor people, like they didn’t go thru enough already. If that last part is true and easily proven why hasn’t legal action already begun?
    Speaking of that, how bout the Co’s that made the trailers. Don’t they have the responsibility to make safe trailers? I know some folks that spend lots of time in tow behind trailers. I wonder if the company names are public knowledge – or will GW put them on his to do list for protection too?

  • Dr. Saturn

    It’s not that the republicans suck at big government, it’s that big government just sucks. Granted, Bush is an embarrassment to the party and totally mishandled Katrina. But I’ll bet you anything that there will be similar colossal failures of the Obama administration in whatever disaster hits during his 8 years.

    But it won’t be his fault. It’s just that government agencies are inefficient by nature, as they are not pressured by competition of the market and have a much higher infestation of red tape.

  • joe

    i am tired of hearing how this is the governments fault. theese “poor people” how long are they going to continue to sponge off the tax payers and take some personal resposibility it is NOT the governments job to provide housing for anyone. how long ago did this happen almost three years if thet are still in fema provided trailers i say kick them out and let them fend for them selves,unless the government wants to repay me and everyother american that pays for there own housing stop complaining you dont like the trailer that you got for 3 years at no cost to you its simple leave .

  • Elisabetta

    Whenever Katrina comes up, it’s Bush and republicans’ fault.

    What about the democrats down in Louisiana that failed in their job of repairing the levees? Not to mention the evacuation fiasco?
    Perhaps, if they had not slacked off… if they had been prepared… if they had done their part, instead of relying solely on the government, the Katrina’s disaster might have been prevented or minimized.
    The problem in LA was lack of leadership from the bottom up not money.
    Alabama, also, was hard hit by Katrina, but what a difference! Many other weather-related disasters have occurred in the last 2 years, yet, none of them has had a similar ending.

    That should mean something. Of course, it’s much easier to blame Bush.