• Matt Esnayra

Long Beach & other cities reach $550M deal with Monsanto for polluting waterways, LB to get $7.5M

Long Beach and other cities have reached an agreement with German-base multinational pharmaceutical giant Bayer in a class-action settlement that alleged Bayer subsidiary Monsanto polluted the waterways with PCB, a chemical used in many of their products, including RoundUp.

Driving the news:

Bayer will pay a total of $550 million, divided between the 2,500 class-action members, of which Long Beach would be receiving $7.5 million. The City says that since Long Beach examined its local water quality and put in 'additional resources' in the lawsuit, the City could receive additional compensation.

Under the settlement deal, three funds will be made to compensate the three main identified harms:

  • $42.8 million for the need to monitor PCBs in stormwater

  • $250 million for the need to comply with the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System; and

  • $150 million for sediment restoration.

Why it matters:

The lawsuit stems from allegations that Monsanto polluted waterways in Los Angeles County with a chemical called polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB. This toxic chemical does not break down effortlessly and has been used in paint, ink, paper, fireproofing products, hydraulic fluids, and industrial equipment since 1979, per France 24.

  • "Due to their persistence in the environment, PCBs continue to contaminate stormwater and, if they make it to the ocean, also contaminate coastal sediments. PCBs can cause a wide range of health issues," pre a press release by the City of Long Beach.

What they're saying:

  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: "Monsanto needs to be held accountable for their immense damage to the environment and our communities. I'm proud that we led on this lawsuit and took Monsanto to court in spite of their deep pockets. We stood our ground and are going to benefit greatly from this settlement."

  • "This is a great result for the City of Long Beach. This order allows this case to move on to completion of class settlement approval and distribution of up to $550 million to help Long Beach and other governmental entities monitor and remove PCBs from stormwater and remediate contaminated sediments," stated Assistant City Attorney Dawn McIntosh.

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