The city of Long Beach will receive $7.5 million after a California judge finalized a $537.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that cities, counties and state governments across the country had filed against Bayer AG’s Monsanto Company, the city said Tuesday.
The suit accused the former agrochemical giant of polluting waterways with its products. In March, when officials announced a preliminary agreement, the city said that it expected to receive up to $7.5 million once the settlement was approved.
Long Beach originally filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in 2016, but that suit was dismissed by a U.S. District judge later that year.
The city later Long Beach joined other agencies like Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles County in the class action lawsuit, which argued that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) made by Monsanto were being introduced into local ecosystems, which can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems of humans and are known to cause cancer.
PCBs were used in paint, ink, hydraulic fluids, plastics and industrial equipment. They were outlawed by Congress in 1979.
“This settlement affirms the decades-long damage the Monsanto Company has caused to our environment and our communities,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This is an important step in holding them accountable for their actions.”
In total, over 2,500 agencies across the country were expected to get settlements from Bayer AG Monsanto Company and its subsidiaries. Long Beach officials said that the city is expected to receive the largest allocation of any party to the class action.
Under the settlement, three funds were created to address the main harms created by PCBs: a Monitoring Fund ($42.9 million), a Total Maximum Daily Load Fund ($250 million) and a Sediments Site Fund ($137.5 million). However, because Long Beach allocated additional resources to investigate water quality, it could receive additional funds from a fourth Special Needs Fund ($107 million), the city said.
The bodies of water that were found to have been contaminated by PCBs were the Port of Long Beach, Colorado Lagoon and the Dominguez Watershed.
Funds received by the city from the class action will be allocated by the City Council, the city said in March. The settlement doesn’t require agencies to spend money on specific projects or remediation.