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Monsanto to pay record $95 million to end Ferguson’s lawsuit over PCBs

Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 25, 2020
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that Monsanto will pay $95 million to resolve Ferguson’s lawsuit over the company’s manufacturing, marketing and distribution of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Bob Ferguson
Attorney General   Bob Ferguson
This is Washington’s largest independent state environmental recovery against a single entity.

Topics: Monsanto

In 2016 Washington was the first state to file a lawsuit against Monsanto over its PCBs, asserting that the company produced PCBs for decades while hiding what they knew about the toxic chemicals’ harm to human health and the environment.

Monsanto was the only U.S. company to produce PCBs from 1935 until it was banned in 1977.

After three years of intense litigation — including defeating multiple efforts by Monsanto to have the case dismissed and moved to federal court — Monsanto will pay $95 million as compensation for damages PCBs have inflicted on the state’s natural resources, including the economic impact to the state and its residents.

The majority of the payment will go to the state General Fund.

Ferguson is urging the Legislature to use these funds as the lawsuit intended: to help clean our water and protect orcas and salmon in the wake of decades of pervasive PCB contamination across the state.

The remaining funds will be used to pay the costs associated with litigating the complex case and to help fund the continued environmental protection work of the Attorney General’s Office.

“Monsanto knew the dangers of PCBs, but hid them from the public to protect their profits,” Ferguson said.

“Washington has been shouldering the health and environmental costs of PCB contamination and clean up for decades.

This record payment holds Monsanto accountable for the harm they inflicted on our state.”

“For decades, Monsanto manufactured and marketed PCBs, despite knowing the tremendous risk that PCBs pose to fish, wildlife and people,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.

“This settlement holds Monsanto accountable for its actions and will help us address the legacy PCB pollution in our waters, fish, lands and air.”