Thursday, July 10, 2003

Asbestos Comp Fund Still Stalled

Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) still can't seem to reach an agreement with Senate Democrats and Labor over the size of the Asbestos compensation fund.

Hatch fears that
a Democratic proposal for awards to asbestos victims was so generous it would "bankrupt" the proposed fund, and led Republicans in voting it down 10-9 on party lines.

The proposal, by the panel's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have paid people sickened by asbestos awards totaling an estimated $128 billion to $185 billion over the 27-year life of the fund.
Meanwhile, stock of companies involved in asbestos litigation dropped.

One company, Haliburton, and a certain U.S. Vice President who I will be polite enough not to name, will be quite pleased if an asbestos compensation bill passes. According to the Financial Times
Halliburton, the oil services company formerly run by Dick Cheney, US vice-president, could save more than $3.5bn under proposed asbestos legislation, according to a report to the Senate judiciary committee.

The company has agreed to pay $4.25bn to settle claims from victims of asbestos exposure. But under laws the committee is considering to create a trust fund to curb asbestos litigation, Halliburton would pay at most $675m, says Caplin & Drysdale, a New York law firm.
I knew there was money to be made doing health and safety work. I'm just on the wrong side.