Monsanto, a crop sciences unit of Bayer AG, has agreed to pay $10.2 million in fines and plead guilty to spraying a banned pesticide in Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Justice said late Thursday.
The Justice Department said that Monsanto sprayed the banned pesticide, Penncap-M, on research crops in Maui, Hawaii, despite the 2013 ban by the Environmental Protection Agency. Monsanto sent workers back into the area after seven days even though the company knew nobody should enter for 31 days.
“The illegal conduct in this case posed a threat to the environment, surrounding communities and Monsanto workers,” said U.S. Attorney
in prepared remarks.
Monsanto couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Monsanto received a deferred prosecution agreement on two felony counts of unlawfully storing Penncap-M, which is considered an “acute hazardous waste.”
Under the agreement, the government will dismiss the felonies in two years if Monsanto follows the terms and keeps an environmental compliance program at all its Hawaii sites. Monsanto will also pay a $6 million criminal fine, $4 million in community service payments and an additional $200,000 fine.
The company’s guilty plea adds to a string of legal issues at Monsanto’s German parent
which said in September 2016 it would acquire Monsanto and closed the acquisition last year for $63 billion. Since August 2018, three U.S. juries have found that Monsanto’s signature herbicide, Roundup, caused the cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma, slashing around 30% off Bayer’s market value.
In late October, Bayer said the number of plaintiffs arguing Roundup caused cancer has more than doubled to 42,700 over the course of three months.
Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8