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Long Beach, other cities announce $550 million settlement in Monsanto water contamination suit

Thirteen government entities, including the city of Long Beach, have filed a motion to approve a $550 million class action settlement with Monsanto Company, Parmacia, LLC, and Solutia, Inc., which would resolve five years of litigation in a water contamination case.

“This settlement is a groundbreaking effort to protect and restore the city’s water resources,” Long Beach City Attorney Charles Parkin said in a statement.

Since March 2015, lawsuits have been filed by over a dozen entities seeking cost recovery for stormwater and environmental contamination caused by polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, which St. Louis-based Monsanto manufactured between the 1930s and 1977.

The highly carcinogenic chemical was banned in the US by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The class plaintiffs named in the nationwide resolution include the cities of Long Beach, Tacoma, Portland, Berkeley, Oakland, San Jose, Spokane, San Diego, Chula Vista and Baltimore, as well as the Port of Portland, Los Angeles County, and Baltimore County. The proposed class includes over 2,500 governmental entities.

“This national resolution will provide Long Beach […] with funds for monitoring, mitigation and remediation efforts to manage PCBs in stormwater, stormwater systems, sediments and water bodies,” Parkin said.

The proposed class action was filed in federal court in the Central District of California and must be approved by Judge Fernando Olguin prior to providing payments to class members. If approved, the class action will provide all members with funds to offset past and future expenses related to PCB water contamination.

“Our city will benefit greatly from this settlement, but most importantly send a message to Monsanto and others that they cannot continue to pollute our waterways and natural resources,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.

In addition to the PCB settlement, Monsanto’s parent company, Germany-based Bayer, announced Wednesday it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle lawsuits about Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup due to claims it causes cancer. The company said the settlement includes 125,000 filed and un-filed claims.

The Long Beach City Council voted to ban the use of Roundup at city parks and facilities in August 2018.

Bayer purchased Monsanto in 2018.

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