Senator Mary Landrieu wrote an article at poynter.org, “letting the sunshine in” to illuminate delayed FEMA response to FOIA requests in regards to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For example, Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune filed a FOIA request with FEMA regarding its disaster response operations and planning. After two years (and asking him twice if he was “still interested”), FEMA has yet to act.
But it’s this part of the article that really hits a nerve:
“Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that it had filed a FOIA request in 2006 seeking documentation on FEMA’s contracting procedures and the decisions behind deploying travel trailers across the Gulf Coast. FEMA says they will release the information — for a fee. The going price for the truth is apparently $209,990, principally to defray copying costs. The agency said the documents are not available electronically and that the only hard copies are stored in its New Orleans field office. Meanwhile, on its Website, FEMA itself advises that, ‘If you plan ahead and copy what you have onto compact disks, you can be secure in knowing that they will not be lost in the future.’ “
I just don’t know what to say after reading that…
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