The national news media is finally zeroing in on the tremendous problems caused by Monsanto Company for literally many thousands of Alabama citizens. For nearly 40 years, whole producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs in Anniston, Alabama, Monsanto routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped million of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills.
Thousands of pages of Monsanto documents reveal that for decades Monsanto concealed what it did and what it knew.
Monsanto enjoyed a lucrative four-decade monopoly on PCB production in the United States. The company continued to produce PCBs long after PCBs were confimed as a global pollutant. One internal memo tells much: “We can’t afford to lose $1 of business.”
A recent Birmingham News article on Monsanto revealed how truly bad this powerful corporation was and is. Similar articles appeared over the past few weeks in nation newspaper around the country. CNN also did a tremendous favor to environmentalists with their coverage of the situation.
I suspect the bad news for Monsanto and Solutia, its spin-off company, is just the beginning. This far, the companies have been able to successfully ward off the government (federal and state), including both the EPA and the state regulators. As is so often the case, only the courts can bring the relief needed and stop bad practices of the sort we see here.
Jere Beasley is a former Lieutenant Governor, who is now a consumer advocate attorney, practicing law in Montgomery, Alabama.