The Coalition for Asbestos Reform Challenges Supporters of FAIR Act

WASHINGTON – The Coalition for Asbestos Reform (C.A.R.) today responded to the press conference held by Senators Specter and Leahy, in which they struggled to demonstrate support for S.852 the Asbestos Trust Fund bill.
“We were struck more by who wasn’t at this rally, than by who was,” said Thomas O’Brien, Chairman of C.A.R. “Glaringly absent were the major corporations who helped draft this bill and stand to reap billions of dollars in benefits if it is enacted. Where was USG, a company that just this week revealed that the bill is worth $3 billion to them?”

Members of C.A.R., which includes smaller companies and their insurers, is strongly opposed to the legislation in the belief that the measure would allow large corporations to dump their asbestos liability onto smaller and medium- sized companies who have not had the resources to make their voices heard in Washington.

“With the very existence of several smaller and medium-sized companies at risk,” O’Brien continued, “we urge the Senate to reject this unfair legislation.”

Contrary to the impression given by this event, the business community is, at best, split over this legislation. Many defendant companies, like the members of C.A.R., believe the legislation would be devastating to them. The insurance industry is virtually united against it. Many labor unions are opposed. Conservative groups like Freedom Works and the National Taxpayers Union are opposed. Public Citizen and most victims groups oppose it, as well.

“Before casting their vote, we urge the rest of the U.S. Senate to question the most striking aspect of today’s press conference — who was not in the room?”

C.A.R. is a group of smaller and medium sized businesses and their insurance companies committed to educating U.S. businesses and policymakers about the serious flaws in S.852. The coalition mobilized last June to launch a major national campaign to explain the effect of the bill on hundreds of local businesses that face potential asbestos liability, most of whom are unaware of the devastating impact of $140 billion in new taxes S.852 authorizes to finance the trust fund mandated by the bill.