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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 07/18/2008

Who's Against Life-Saving Weather Radios?

By Dan Stillman

Every once in a while, Congress is faced with the chance to do something simple, smart and practical that could immediately and positively impact society. A bill requiring emergency weather radios -- which broadcast an alarm in the case of a nearby tornado or other emergency -- in new mobile homes presents just such an opportunity. Estimated cost for this last defense against deadly tornadoes, especially in the middle of the night when people are sleeping? Less than $35 per radio.

The bill has passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate. Believe it or not, there is an organization against this move -- a move that would certainly save lives; almost 50 percent of people who have been killed by tornadoes this year were in mobile homes, which are particularly vulnerable to twisters.

Who's opposing this idea?

Keep reading for the answer. Also, see our full forecast into early next week.

The Manufactured Housing Institute. (Manufactured housing is pretty much a fancy way to say "mobile home.") Why? Because, says the trade association, the bill doesn't help those in traditional single-family homes or other structures. How noble. I'm sure MHI's protest has nothing to do with the cost and burden (both quite minimal, mind you) that would fall on the mobile-home makers that MHI represents. Instead, MHI supports a new nationwide alert system, using cell phone text alerts and eventually other modes of communication, that is likey years from full and effective implementation.

In a world where politics and special-interest groups rule, it seems there's always some person or some group against even the soundest of proposals. I bet someone, somewhere is even against world peace. Fortunately, when it comes to protecting lives from weather and other hazards, states don't have to wait on the feds. Indiana, for example, already requires weather radios in mobile homes.

By Dan Stillman  | July 18, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Government  
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