PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Shapiro Administration have announced that the Monsanto Company, Solutia INC., and Pharmacia LLC will pay $100 million to resolve claims that the production of their products damaged Pennsylvania waterways and natural resources.

According to the department, the company’s production of products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) allegedly caused the damage. Monsanto says the settlement “contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing.”

PCBs, which were banned by Congress in 1979, are a group of man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms that can accumulate in the leaves and above-ground parts of plants and food crops.

The chemicals are also taken up into the bodies of small organisms and fish which can lead people who ingest fish to be exposed to PCBs.

“The Department has spent years protecting Pennsylvanians from PCBs,” DEP Secretary Rich Negrin said. “By securing this settlement, DEP is holding Monsanto accountable for what it did to Pennsylvania’s water and making sure that Monsanto is paying for the work the Commonwealth has done to keep its water clean. This agreement demonstrates our commitment to protecting the rights and resources of all Pennsylvanians.”

The money from the settlement will go towards recovering costs to the state from contamination and towards additional remediation efforts. $8 million from the settlement will specifically go to Pennsylvania communities affected.

The remainder of the money will go to agencies that have helped fight PCB pollution, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PFBC).

“For decades, PCB pollution has contaminated fish in our waterways, disrupted recreational opportunities, and impaired a valuable food source for millions of Pennsylvanians,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director said. “On behalf of the anglers of Pennsylvania, we are proud to join our partner agencies in securing this settlement as we work to protect our cherished aquatic resources.”

“Monsanto has reached a settlement agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to resolve all claims relating to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a legacy product the Company ceased producing in 1977, two years before EPA banned their manufacture. The settlement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing by the Company and will fully resolve all of the state’s PCB claims. Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto will make a payment of $99.5 million to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (plus $500,000 in costs), terms that demonstrate that the prior settlement with the State of Oregon was an outlier. The Company never manufactured or disposed of PCBs in Pennsylvania’s environment.

Monsanto released the following statement regarding the settlement.

“In 2022, Monsanto filed a lawsuit in Missouri against six former PCB customers seeking to enforce contracts under which these companies agreed to fully defend and indemnify Monsanto. The Company entered into these indemnity agreements, beginning in 1972, as a condition of continuing to provide these former customers with bulk PCBs for use in their closed-end finished products. Monsanto ceased its legal manufacture of PCBs more than 45 years ago. Prior to this time, PCBs were highly valued as nonflammable safety fluids, specified by many electrical and building codes as well as insurance companies to protect against serious fire risk. Monsanto remains committed to defending existing and future cases at trial and will only consider settlements when it is in the Company’s interest to do so.”