Asbestos Bill Attracts Corporate Lobbyists

"Major US corporations ranging from Pfizer to Halliburton are mobilizing scores of public affairs professionals across Washington this fall in hopes that the new legislative session will bring an end to years of costly asbestos-related lawsuits," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua writes. "Working separately as the Asbestos Study Group (ASG) and the Asbestos Alliance (AA), hundreds of major companies that have either manufactured or used asbestos are lobbying for protection from more than 600,000 asbestos lawsuits now pending in US courts. A bill that would create a $108 billion trust fund from which victims could receive compensation is expected to be considered by the Senate this fall. Many in Congress consider the bill, which would also bar future asbestos-related lawsuits, a high priority, but newly revived debates over energy policy and Iraq threaten to sidetrack the long-simmering issue. Hence, a vast army of public affairs professionals is mobilizing to preserve the momentum."