Sherri White-Williamson lives about three miles from a pork processing plant in Clinton, North Carolina. On a good day, the air smells fresh, tainted by a minor whiff of rotten egg and sewage. On a bad day, the odor from the plant is so strong, she has to keep her windows closed.
In September 2012, a class action settlement awarded $42.6 million to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who were living in mobile homes with elevated formaldehyde levels meted out as disaster assistance housing by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Following the hurricanes, over $50 million was spent on the production of more than fifty thousand travel trailers, with many of the contracts going to privately-owned companies that acted as middlemen for the homes’ procurement.