LRA approves $5M plan to fix Chinese drywall ills

AP News
Posted: Nov 12, 2009 3:15 PM

Some homeowners would get help fixing problems caused by trouble-plagued Chinese drywall under a $5 million plan that is being sent to state lawmakers after winning the unanimous backing Thursday of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

The program will require legislative and federal approval before it can begin.

The aid also won't flow until federal officials devise a national standard for drywall testing and remediation. State officials said they don't know how long that might take.

As approved Thursday, the program would be limited to homeowners with the contaminated wallboard who received aid through the Road Home program after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It would use $5 million in federal hurricane recovery aid.

LRA Executive Director Paul Rainwater said he doesn't know how many of the more than 125,000 participants in the Road Home would be eligible for the program.

People who rebuilt their south Louisiana homes after Katrina claim imported Chinese drywall emits sulfur, methane and other chemical compounds that have ruined homes and appliances and harmed residents' health.

State lawmakers required the LRA to devise at least a $5 million aid program for people with drywall problems. Rainwater said the state isn't equipped to handle the problem on its own, noting that homeowners in other states have similar complaints.

Members of Congress and federal authorities are considering what remedies might be available to homeowners.