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Ghosts of Katrina
Author: Raine    Date: 07/01/2010 12:43:15

It's like a bad story that never seems to go away. What happened during the aftermath of Katrina keeps resurfacing in all sorts of ways. This time it's the infamous FEMA trailers used to house so many thousands of displaced people. They're re-surfacing in the Gulf region and despite a Federal Government ban on using them for residential purposes, workers involved with the cleanup of the oil spill are living in them. In many cases they are being provided by the companies they are working for.
Ron Mason, owner of a disaster contracting firm, Alpha 1, said that in the past two weeks he had sold more than 20 of the trailers to cleanup workers and the companies that employ them in Venice and Grand Isle, La.

Even though federal regulators have said the trailers are not to be used for housing because of formaldehyde’s health risks, Mr. Mason said some of these workers had bought them so they could be together with their wives and children after work.

“These are perfectly good trailers,” Mr. Mason said, adding that he has leased land in and around Venice for 40 more trailers that are being delivered from Texas in the coming weeks. “Look, you know that new car smell? Well, that’s formaldehyde, too. The stuff is in everything. It’s not a big deal.”
I just love how private contractors get to skirt federal regulations and brush it of like it's simply a funny smell. They have been proven that they are not perfectly safe to reside in. There was a reason that FEMA decided to get rid of these trailers. From Wapo, May 2008
Formaldehyde -- an industrial chemical that can cause nasal cancer, may be linked to leukemia, and worsens asthma and respiratory problems -- was present in many of the FEMA housing units in amounts exceeding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended 15-minute exposure limit for workers, the limit at which acute health symptoms begin to appear in sensitive individuals.

Weak government contracting, sloppy private construction, a surge of low-quality wood imports from China and inconsistent regulation all contributed to the crisis, a Washington Post review found. But each of the key players has pointed fingers at others, a chain of blame with a cost that will not be known for years.
It's been common knowledge for years how dangerous these trailors were for residential use. That was why it the concern was raised in the House last April, when the federal Government decided to sell off as many as they could instead of paying for the cost of storing them. From the NYT:
The trailers are “not intended to be used as housing,” said David Garratt, FEMA’s associate administrator for mission support. “Subsequent owners must continue to similarly inform subsequent buyers for the life of the unit.”

These rules are not being followed in many cases, however. Officials with the inspector general’s office of the General Services Administration said Wednesday that they had opened at least seven cases concerning buyers who might not have posted the certification and formaldehyde warnings on trailers they sold.
It seems as tho not only are the potential residents -- and their families -- of the trailers are not being told, many placards that the federal government required to be placed on them are missing.

There is no excuse for the reckless behavior by these disaster recovery companies to once again prey on unsuspecting Americans. It was a terrible mistake for the Obama administration to assume that these contractors and businesses would do the right thing. They are not, and despite the cost it may be to all taxpayers, perhaps the remaining FEMA trailers leftover from Katrina should be destroyed once and for all. From Eugene Robinson this March:
Officials told The Post that there would be little demand for the trailers because so many are in poor condition, having sat unoccupied and unattended for so long. But my guess is that if problems such as mold, mildew and propane-gas leaks drive retail prices even lower, the number of potential buyers is only likely to increase. Things are tough out there, and even a musty trailer -- with a warning sticker -- is a more comfortable place to sleep than the back seat of a car.
Well, because of recent events, the demand for housing has returned, and sadly, so have these horrible trailers. People need a place to stay, and companies are more than willing to use unfortunate situations to their greedy advantage.

Once again the Ghost of Katrina shows itself in the Gulf region. It seems like it will never go away.

and
Raine

39 comments (Latest Comment: 07/02/2010 02:40:50 by Raine)
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Comment by Will in Chicago on 07/01/2010 13:08:52
FIRST!!!!



Good morning, bloggers!!! Thanks for an excellent blog, Raine!



In some parts of the Gulf Coast, such as Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, people are still rebuilding their homes after Katrina. (A lot of the relief effort for housing in Mississippi got shifted by Governor Haley Barbour to a ports project in Gulfport.)



I will let my friend Sarge, who was on KPHX as host of the Unreported News Radio Show and on the Jeff Farias Show network, know about this. With the end of Jeff's show, Sarge is starting a new half-hour program "Reflections with Sarge" at 8:30 PM EST on Saturdays on WXBH 92.7 FM in Louisville and at The David Link Show

Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 13:11:09
Quote by Will in Chicago:

FIRST!!!!



Good morning, bloggers!!! Thanks for an excellent blog, Raine!



In some parts of the Gulf Coast, such as Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, people are still rebuilding their homes after Katrina. (A lot of the relief effort for housing in Mississippi got shifted by Governor Haley Barbour to a ports project in Gulfport.)



I will let my friend Sarge, who was on KPHX as host of the Unreported News Radio Show and on the Jeff Farias Show network, know about this. With the end of Jeff's show, Sarge is starting a new half-hour program "Reflections with Sarge" at 8:30 PM EST on Saturdays on WXBH 92.7 FM in Louisville and at The David Link Show
That would be great will.



I just cannot believe that despite being told these were not meant to be sold as residential Units, people are boldly ignoring these rules.



Disgusting.



Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 13:21:56
Morning

Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 13:27:42
I'm guessing there is no disclosure laws when it comes to trailers and mobile homes - maybe there should be. YOu have to disclose everything about a home when you by it and even cars you can track what they've been through by there VIN numbers - why not these types of vehicles/homes too?

Comment by Will in Chicago on 07/01/2010 13:28:50
I stumbled across another reason to hate the oil industry, in addition to the disaster along the Gulf Coast. The Guardian is reporting that officials of a British oil company bribed Iraqi officials to allow a dangerous additive to fuel -- despite the harm that it causes to children.



Here are some details from the Guardian. (There is a video at the original story.)

[url]UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive

Exclusive: Officials in Iraq were bribed to overlook effects of leaded petrol on children's health



David Leigh, Rob Evans and Mona Mahmood

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 June 2010 22.04 BST



The former chief executive of a British chemical company faces the prospect of extradition to the US after the firm admitted million-dollar bribes to officials to sell toxic fuel additives to Iraq.



Paul Jennings, until last year chief executive of the Octel chemical works near Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, and his predecessor, Dennis Kerrison, exported tonnes of tetra ethyl lead (TEL), to Iraq. TEL is banned from cars in western countries because of links with brain damage to children. Iraq is believed to be the only country that still adds lead to petrol.



The company recently admitted that, in a deliberate policy to maximise profits, executives from Octel – which since changed its name to Innospec – bribed officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars to carry on using TEL, despite its health hazards.



The firm's Lebanese agent, Osama Naaman, was extradited and agreed this week to plead guilty and co-operate with US prosecutors. Although the US department of justice has run much of the case, the Serious Fraud Office is keen to claim jurisdiction.









It is high time that we start moving towards renewable energy, and tell the oil industry executives that they need to find another line of work. Perhaps one where they get to change bed pans several times a day at a facility for children.



(I cross posted this at UNN.)

Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 13:30:20
Quote by wickedpam:

I'm guessing there is no disclosure laws when it comes to trailers and mobile homes - maybe there should be. YOu have to disclose everything about a home when you by it and even cars you can track what they've been through by there VIN numbers - why not these types of vehicles/homes too?


I don't know about VIN numbers, that makes sense but the federal government said that they had to disclose what these trailers were and there is supposed to be a placard indicating as much on all of them.



That isn't happening.

Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 13:38:39
Quote by Raine:

Quote by wickedpam:

I'm guessing there is no disclosure laws when it comes to trailers and mobile homes - maybe there should be. YOu have to disclose everything about a home when you by it and even cars you can track what they've been through by there VIN numbers - why not these types of vehicles/homes too?


I don't know about VIN numbers, that makes sense but the federal government said that they had to disclose what these trailers were and there is supposed to be a placard indicating as much on all of them.



That isn't happening.




even with out placards the person selling it should have to tell the prospective buyer the history of the trailer - think that's more what I meant.



Like when I bought my house I could get a list of things that happened - like if there was a fire and so on, plus I could ask anything I wanted about it - and yes I asked if there was anything paranormal along with the usual stuff (don't think me weird but I've seen too many movies based on "real events" that I'm gonna ask ). Even if they thought it was a weird question I got an answer

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 13:39:46
Morning, comrades.



"So what if we control all the oil, is it worth a child dying for?"



Prince, "Money Doesn't Matter Tonight", circa 1991.





Comment by Will in Chicago on 07/01/2010 13:53:56
Oops, I forgot a link to the story that I referenced:



UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive

Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 14:07:04
wow

Comment by Scoopster on 07/01/2010 14:17:10
Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 14:21:43


Wow.



How could the GOP say no to that????

Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 14:24:34
You know, If he's on the show tomorrow I hope that Grayson talks a bit more about it.

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 14:37:04
Never mind the "flat tax"...I think tax rates should be based on the median income.



Say it's 50,000 per year.



If you make less than the median, you pay no federal tax. You get to keep all you earn so that you can try to get ahead maybe.



If you make between the median up to 3x whatever the median is, than you pay something minimal, say 5%.



3x up to 10x could be taxed at twice that, or maybe up to 20%.



Anyone making over 10x the median should be taxed at something ridiculously high, so that their adjusted income would be no more than 10x the median.









Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 14:44:32
Hal makes a really good point, 'if you don't think DADT is moving fast enough now, imagine how backwards it will go with the GOP in charge'

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 15:41:02
Good morning everyone.



Damn sound card crapped out on my desktop so I had to move to my laptop to listen to Hal.

Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 15:59:43
/hey liv. How are things going besides the Sound card?

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 16:00:51
Hanging in there. At least today I got paid which helps with the bills. And I will have some overtime with the 4th of July weekend.

Comment by Mondobubba on 07/01/2010 16:01:22
I wouldn't worry so much about the damn trailers as I am about the fact that the clean up workers aren't being provided with respirators and proper hazmat clothing. Crude oil has a ton of volatile organic compounds that can be either inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Fifteen bucks an hour vs a life time of health issues. No thanks. The trailers are just a cherry on the cake.

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 16:01:25




Say, Happy Canada Day out there!





Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 16:01:35
Is that something easy to fix?

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 16:16:43
It fixes itself usually when I reboot the computer.

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 16:46:03
Quote by wickedpam:

Is that something easy to fix?






mmmm...I suppose we could invade and overthrow the Canadian government, if it bothers you that much.





Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 16:52:30
Quote by TriSec:

Quote by wickedpam:

Is that something easy to fix?






mmmm...I suppose we could invade and overthrow the Canadian government, if it bothers you that much.











Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 16:53:05
Quote by livingonli:

It fixes itself usually when I reboot the computer.






is that normal?

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 16:58:36
So in Virginia you can bring a concealed weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol but can't drink while packing. Is that the only compromise to macho lunacy?

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 16:59:39
Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by livingonli:

It fixes itself usually when I reboot the computer.






is that normal?


I think it's a sign that the computer's old. I've had it 5.5 years now.

Comment by wickedpam on 07/01/2010 17:05:01
Quote by livingonli:

So in Virginia you can bring a concealed weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol but can't drink while packing. Is that the only compromise to macho lunacy?






you have to have a conceal carry permit first but that's all I really know.

Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 17:11:47
Tom Tancredo, what an asshat.

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 17:19:37
Good news on the car front.



They had to replace 8 valves. (Better than 16.) The piston heads are all done; the mechanic is picking them up today. All the other parts are in, and he'll be putting it back together over the weekend. I should have it back by midweek, and it's looking to come back at a bit under the original estimate.



Then I'm going to park it and continue riding the train for the rest of the month.





Comment by Scoopster on 07/01/2010 18:09:13
Quote by TriSec:

Good news on the car front.



They had to replace 8 valves. (Better than 16.) The piston heads are all done; the mechanic is picking them up today. All the other parts are in, and he'll be putting it back together over the weekend. I should have it back by midweek, and it's looking to come back at a bit under the original estimate.



Then I'm going to park it and continue riding the train for the rest of the month.


Ick.. busted valves & pistons are never good, and never cheap to replace either.

Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 18:24:32
No kidding.



I still need to write a strong letter of protest to Subaru. I've been skimming around some owner's forums and found that it's a rare problem, but it's happened to a number of drivers with the same engine. Including one poor schmuck that had his blow up at a hair over 40,000 miles.





Comment by Scoopster on 07/01/2010 18:37:57
Comment by Scoopster on 07/01/2010 18:38:42
Comment by TriSec on 07/01/2010 19:03:32
Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 20:10:17


And next we need to go after the companies that won't higher people when they are unemployed.

Comment by Raine on 07/01/2010 21:32:40
Quote by TriSec:

Good news on the car front.



They had to replace 8 valves. (Better than 16.) The piston heads are all done; the mechanic is picking them up today. All the other parts are in, and he'll be putting it back together over the weekend. I should have it back by midweek, and it's looking to come back at a bit under the original estimate.



Then I'm going to park it and continue riding the train for the rest of the month.



Good to read that the car will be road ready, and I have to admit, I am very happy that you are going to continue riding the train for a while longer.



Bobber now drives into work about 1.25 times a week on average. Most months it's once a week. In the long run, that not only saves on miles, it saves on the truck.



Comment by livingonli on 07/01/2010 21:42:19
And the good thing with my move is my commute cut from 20 miles to 2 each way to work although I still have to drive it does cut the wear and tear.

Comment by Raine on 07/02/2010 02:40:50
Quote by livingonli:

And the good thing with my move is my commute cut from 20 miles to 2 each way to work although I still have to drive it does cut the wear and tear.
that is a HUGE difference, Liv.



4 miles is pretty much nothing in the bigger scope of things. Nicely done.