MEMPHIS, TN - In his first Capitol press conference, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for wasting $70 million worth of ice.
FEMA bought nearly 225 million pounds of ice in 2005 to help victims of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and for the 2006 hurricane season, when it wasn't needed. The ice was stored in Memphis and 22 other towns across the country. The company storing the ice began melting it earlier this month after FEMA determined that it had outlived its shelf life.
In a letter to FEMA director R. David Paulison, Cohen called it an appaling waste of taxpayer money. He also wrote that the nearly $3.5 million spent to store it is "unconscionable."
FEMA has said it will no longer make bulk purchases of ice.