July 23, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club, 512.289.8618
Inspector General Report Highlights Sierra Club Leadership on Formaldehyde Issue
Report Confirms Slow Response from Bush's FEMA Put Americans at Risk
In light of today's Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General report, "[Federal Emergency Management Agency] Response to Formaldehyde in Trailers," Sierra Club Formaldehyde Campaign Director Becky Gillette issued the following statement:
"Today's inspector general report is vindication for the Sierra Club's early and persistent efforts to draw attention to the issue of toxic formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. Sadly there is no vindication for the thousands of disaster victims who were forced to spend months living in dangerous conditions while the Bush administration dragged its heels.
"Today's report accurately credits the Sierra Club as the first group to discover the toxicity of FEMA trailers, and I am proud of our leading role in fighting for better disaster assistance and emergency housing for all Americans. Nearly two years before FEMA finally admitted its formaldehyde problem. Sierra Club testing in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama showed that 88 percent of tested trailers had formaldehyde levels above the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recommended limit.
"Sierra Club supports the major conclusions outlined in today's report and calls for the swift implementation of the Inspector General's communications and emergency preparedness recommendations. With the 2009 hurricane season well underway, it will take decisive action to safeguard communities if disaster strikes."
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