The city announced the preliminary agreement on Friday afternoon, but it could still be months or more before the settlement is officially approved and the money distributed to the suing parties. The settlement is with Monsanto and subsidiaries of Pfizer and Eastman Chemical over allegations that their products have polluted various cities over the past 70 years.
Long Beach was joined by 12 other plaintiff municipalities, including Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles County and the City and County of Baltimore. In total, the settlement could cost Monsanto $550 million.
Once the settlement is approved, more than 2,500 agencies across the country will receive a portion of the settlement.
“Monsanto must be held accountable for its immense damage to the environment and our communities,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement.
The lawsuit was brought over polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) introduced into the ecosystem, which can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems in humans and are known to cause cancer.
Long Beach water bodies that contained PCBs were Long Beach Harbor, Colorado Lagoon, and the Dominguez Watershed.
Assistant City Attorney Dawn McIntosh said the city could benefit from additional funds that could help recover some of the costs the city incurred during the litigation, which the city originally filed in 2016.
The original lawsuit was dismissed by a U.S. District Judge later that year. The city then joined the class action.
McIntosh said the city used significant resources to gather data during the process, but details of whether agencies could be compensated, and how much, have yet to be determined. The timeframe within which cities can expect payment has also not been met.
“It might or might not be decided by the end of the year,” McIntosh said.
Where the money goes will depend on the city council, McIntosh said, noting that the money was allocated based on how a city was affected, but does not require a city to spend the money on specific projects to remedy the situation.
The city council is in the early stages of drafting next year’s fiscal budget, which is expected to have a $12 million deficit that city officials said last week could be closed using leftovers. US bailout money.
The city has already begun to address some issues it has sued for, such as stormwater contaminants. He is building a $30 million project called ‘LB-MUST’ along the Los Angeles River that could trap contaminants before they exit the river mouth and into the waterfront. from the city.
Long Beach and Other Cities Announce $550 Million Settlement in Monsanto Water Contamination Lawsuit