Monsanto to pay fines in 2014 pesticide case

Monsanto pleaded guilty to spraying a banned pesticide on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and agreed to pay $10.2 million in criminal fines and other payments for the spraying and for illegally storing hazardous waste, U.S. prosecutors said.

The Justice Department said late Thursday that Monsanto sprayed Penncap-M, which contained the banned pesticide methyl parathion, on research crops in 2014, despite knowing that the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited its use after 2013.

It also said Monsanto, now part of Germany’s Bayer, admitted it let employees enter the sprayed fields after seven days despite knowing it should have waited 31 days.

Monsanto agreed to plead guilty to the spraying, a misdemeanor, and enter a deferred prosecution agreement for two felony counts of illegally storing “acute hazardous waste.”

The felony case will be dismissed if Monsanto honors the agreement’s terms for two years, including by maintaining an environmental compliance program at its Hawaii sites.

The settlement requires court approval.

Bayer said Friday that Monsanto “did not live up to its own standards or the applicable laws,” and was unaware of any reported health or environmental problems from its conduct.

Since acquiring Monsanto for $63 billion in June 2018, Bayer has been mired in litigation linking Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup to the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has lost three U.S. jury verdicts in such cases.

— Reuters

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