The Asbestos Act

Last year GAF hired a Harvard Law professor to draft a piece of legislation--The Asbestos Compensation Act, which had it passed would have been extremely profitable for Heyman. The bill would denied or delayed compensation to thousands of victims of abestos-related diseases, cost taxpayers about $150 million a year and provided unwarranted benefits to asbestos companies.*

The former manufacturer of asbestos-laden products, based in New Jersey, has already paid more that $1.5 billion in legal expenses and claims to workers who suffer from asbestos. GAF the holding firm, is 98% owned by Heyman, and was worth almost $1 billion before the recent legal difficulties.

It's no coincidence that Heyman made a contribution of $250,000 to the GOP last year on July 19, just three days before Republicans brought the bill to the House. The bill was opposed by lawyers and public interest groups, and it did not come to the floor for a vote. To limit it's liability, GAF filed for bankruptcy in January.

But Heyman and other manufacturers, and industries are counting on help from the Bush administration, to curb taxes, wages, regulations and lawsuits, spending $148 million in campaign contributions, with almost two-thirds going to the GOP.

One reason the asbestos companies are so optimistic--Halliburton, the energy company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney is experiencing asbestos litigation as well. Over 100,000 claims in 1999 has cost the company $99 million in settlements. Halliburton also gave large contributions to co-sponsors of asbestos legislation, totaling $157,000.

*U.S. Department of Justice

Halliburton Shares Sink After Asbestos Verdict
12/03/01- Shares of Halliburton Co., the company Vice President Dick Cheney ran until last year, lost half their value Monday following news that one of the company's subsidiaries had lost a $30 million asbestos liability suit in Baltimore, reports the Business Journal. The suit claimed that asbestos made by Dresser Industries caused lung cancer in five people, three of whom died. The courtroom loss may result in a flood of liability sauits against the company. According to the Business Journal, a Nov. 8 SEC filing shows that about 340,000 asbestos claims have been filed against Halliburton and its subsidiaries since 1976. While 194,000 of those claims have been resolved, 146,000 are still pending.

One of Bush's fellow Texan's, Representative Billy Williamson of Tyler--home to an infamous killer asbestos plant, once said on the floor, "I think we are all willing to have a little bit of crud in our lungs and a full stomach rather than a whole bunch of clean air and nothing to eat. And I don't want a bunch of environmentalists and Communists telling me what's good for me and my family." Billy later died of lung cancer.

See Also:

Score One-Mining Industry
Score Two-Mining Industry
Bush and Big Oil