Saturday, March 12, 2016, the Portland City Council unanimously passed a Resolution authorizing City Attorney Tracy Reeve to sue the Monsanto Company for contaminating water bodies within the City with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are manmade toxic chemicals which cannot be contained to their original application and which can last for many decades in the environment.
“Portland’s elected officials are committed to holding Monsanto accountable for its apparent decision to favor profits over ecological and human health,” Reeve said. “Monsanto profited from selling PCBs for decades and needs to take responsibility for cleaning up after the mess it created.”
Portland has spent and will continue to spend significant public funds to investigate and clean up PCB contamination in the Willamette River and Columbia Slough.
Monsanto was the sole U.S. manufacturer of PCBs, which are harmful to fish, birds and other animals. They are known carcinogens and present other health risks to humans, including damage to immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. Monsanto manufactured over 1 billion pounds of PCBs between the 1930s and the 1970s, when Congress banned PCBs because they are so dangerous. Monsanto’s own documents show that Monsanto continued to sell PCBs long after it knew of the dangers they presented to human health and the natural environment.
Portland will join six other West Coast cities that have already filed federal lawsuits against Monsanto and a motion for coordination of those lawsuits. That motion will be heard on March 31st before the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Santa Barbara, California. The six West Coast cities which have already filed suit are represented by the law firms of Baron & Budd and Gomez Trial Attorneys, whom Portland intends to retain as well.
Media Contact: Tracy Reeve, City Attorney, 503-823-4047