Thursday, July 01, 2010

SCUZZBUCKET OF THE WEEK

His name is Ron Mason and he is the owner of a “disaster contracting firm" called Alpha 1, which is actually a roofing company based in Texarkana, Texas.

From the NY Times

VENICE, La. — In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they became a symbol of the government’s inept response to that disaster: the 120,000 or so trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to people who had lost their homes. The trailers were discovered to have such high levels of formaldehyde that the government banned them from ever being used for long-term housing again.

Some of the trailers, though, are getting a second life amid the latest disaster here — as living quarters for workers involved with the cleanup of the oil spill.



They have been showing up in mobile-home parks, open fields and local boatyards as thousands of cleanup workers have scrambled to find housing.

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.”

Not everyone agreed. “It stunk to high heaven,” said Thomas J. Sparks, a logistics coordinator for the Marine Spill Response Corporation, as he stood in front of the FEMA trailer that was provided to him by a company working with his firm. Mr. Sparks said the fumes in the trailer from formaldehyde, a widely used chemical in building materials like particle board, were so strong that he had asked his employer to provide him with a non-FEMA trailer

Federal officials have struggled to figure out what to do with the contaminated trailers, which have cost nearly $130 million a year to store and maintain, according to federal records. As a result, the government decided to sell the trailers in 2006.
The trailers have found a ready market in the gulf.

In an April hearing, members of the House Energy Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection raised concerns that the trailers would end up being used for housing. More than 100,000 trailers have been sold so far in public auctions.

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.
Caren Auchman, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, said in an e-mail message that her agency was taking steps to ensure that the units were not used for housing.

Still, housing remains tight. In June, Mr. Mason’s firm and another consulting firm began proposing a plan to large contractors in the region to put about 300 of the trailers on barges for offshore worker housing.

Officials from BP and the “Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, which is BP’s subcontractor that is handling most of the air sampling in the region, said they had no plans to move forward with the proposal.

Standing in a small field surrounded by a new shipment of the trailers, Mr. Mason declined to say whether he informed buyers of the formaldehyde risks or kept warning labels on the trailers.

One of Mr. Mason’s trailers, shown to a reporter, had an overpowering smell of formaldehyde inside and none of the required placards on the outside or inside indicating the formaldehyde risk or that it was not supposed to be used for housing. The trailer did, however, have a note taped inside to call FEMA.
Mr. Mason, who is based in Texarkana, Tex., added that all of his customers have been happy and that he planned to lease land for 50 more trailers that he would rent out to workers.
“Bottom line,” he said, “I’m providing a service.”


This assclown reminds me or Mr. Haney from Green Acres. Except that Mr. Haney didn't knowingly poison people.

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