Oregon has reached a settlement with the German pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Bayer over PCB pollution.
The $698 million deal ends a lawsuit associated with products made by Monsanto, which Bayer now owns, according to the state’s attorney general.
The move makes Oregon the latest U.S. state to receive millions of dollars in damages from the company for pollution allegedly caused by the chemicals.
It’s the largest environmental damage recovery in Oregon’s history and “magnitudes larger” than any other state settlement over PCB contamination by Monsanto.
COUPLE’S $86M AWARD IN MONSANTO PESTICIDE CASE STANDS
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum described the agreement as “vitally important” to the state’s land, air, water, wildlife and residents.
“When we start digging and understanding what is in our land what is in our water, it can really bring tears to your eyes. So let’s get this cleaned up so that our kids and our grandkids will not have tears in their eyes,” she added, speaking at a news conference.
Bayer said in a statement that the settlement over “legacy Monsanto PCB products” fully resolves all Oregon’s claims and releases the company from any future liability.
MONSANTO TO PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGAL PESTICIDE USE IN HAWAII
The agreement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company.
“The settlement terms reflect the unique challenges and trial procedures in this Oregon venue even though Monsanto voluntarily ceased production of PCBs in 1977 and never manufactured, used or disposed of PCBs in Oregon,” it said.
The settlement stems from a 2018 lawsuit against Monsanto claiming the company’s products polluted the state until PCBs were banned in the 1970s.
The case went to trial in May.
A jury was selected and initial hearings were held, but the case was settled once the trial was underway.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in many industrial and commercial applications — including paint, coolants, sealants and hydraulic fluids.
Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 for over $60 billion.
Bayer has also reached agreements totaling more than $275 million to resolve similar lawsuits with the attorneys general of Washington state, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Ohio and the District of Columbia.
The Oregon Department of Justice said it will work with the Legislature, the governor, and state agencies to decide how to allocate the funds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read the full article here