Feds Object to Airline CEO's $20M Severance

Morning Business Memo…

Too darn high! That's the official reaction to a sweet severance deal for the CEO of American Airlines. The proposed merger of American and US Airways Group calls for CEO Tom Horton to lose that job and become chairman of the new company. US Airways boss Doug Parker would run the carrier. American has proposed severance pay of almost $20 million, along with lifetime flight benefits. The objection filed by the US trustee's office says American's bankruptcy plan does not explain why Horton should get so much money. The objection says Horton's contract calls for him to get $6.4 million if he had left at the end of last year, and raises the question of why he should get so much more money now. The case will be decided by a federal bankruptcy court in New York.

Making fracking safe is the goal of new research by a corporate giant. General Electric plans to invest billions of dollars in the boom of oil and gas drilling. GE is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom. Environmentalist Michael Shellenberger calls it a "positive response to legitimate public concerns" about the impacts of the fracking boom. Neil Donahue, a professor of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, says that GE might be able to make the process safer but that there is still a separate question of how society wants to balance the benefits and risks of fracking.

Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals says it will buy Bausch + Lomb, the eye health company for $8.7 billion. Valeant says the deal would help it cash in on increasing demand for contact lenses and other products because of aging populations, growing demand in emerging markets and increasing rates of diabetes. Bausch + Lomb Holdings Inc. makes contact lenses, eye drugs and ophthalmic surgical devices.

What is it about Tuesdays? Stocks are going for their 20th straight Tuesday gains in a row. Despite a drop last week for the stock market, US futures shot up this morning after a rally in Europe and Asia. Investors will be watching today new reports on home prices and consumer confidence.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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