Faculty Scholarship

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This article analyzes the dangers surrounding the toxicity levels in the trailers issued to Katrina survivors by FEMA, and identifies serious medical complications stemming from the temporary homes. Lack of government oversight in the process led to the distribution of formaldehyde-laced trailers that cost the government more than $2 billion and continue to poison residents years after the storm. Furthermore, the failures connected to disaster relief are even more disturbing in this disaster-prone era. More importantly, this paper also proposes the creation of a Toxic Trailer Fund to compensate residents of toxic FEMA trailers. Using the factors implicitly established by the 9/11 Fund – the national perspective, the uniqueness of the circumstances, the need for physical and psychological closure and the prompt and predictable alternative to litigation – this article makes an argument for providing relief to toxic trailer residents. First, this fund is demanded to redress compounded government harms. Further, this fund will serve the important principle of good government by strengthening government accountability.