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The City of Portland has hired Ecolawyers to represent the city in a lawsuit against Monsanto Company. The suit alleges that Monsanto is responsible for PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) water contamination affecting the Columbia Slough and Willamette River. Portland is the eighth city to enlist Ecolawyers in suits against Monsanto, joining Berkeley, CA, Long Beach, CA, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle and Spokane.
Ecolawyers is a new partnership between Baron & Budd and Gomez Trial Attorneys. This new venture was formed to hold polluters – as well as the companies that produce pollutants – accountable for the damage they are doing to the environment.
Case in point is the legal action against Monsanto, which produced PCBs for more than 40 years from the 1930s until 1979, when Congress banned the chemical in the U.S. PCBs are chemicals that were used in a multitude of applications, such as electrical equipment, paints, solvents and many more. Over time, these chemicals have been washed by storm water into lakes, bays, rivers and other waterways. PCBs have destroyed fish and animal habitats and have also been linked to serious diseases in humans.
Monsanto produced an estimated 1 billion pounds of PCBs between the 1930s and 1970s before the toxic chemical was finally banned. Internal documents clearly show that the company sold PCBs long after executives knew the risks the chemical posed to humans as well as the environment. Monsanto was the only U.S. producer of the chemical.
Portland is the latest city to take a stand and act to hold Monsanto accountable for the millions of dollars in costs associated with PCB cleanup.