8/22/03 Anniston, AL -- In a landmark case involving approximately 18,000 plaintiffs, Monsanto Co., the world's biggest developer of pesticides and genetically engineered crops, agreed this week to pay $600 million in damages to the community of Anniston, Alabama, which allegedly suffered severe medical complications -- including cancer, liver disease, neurological disorders, and heart disease -- as a result of the dumping of toxic industrial chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The settlement is double that of the case against Pacific Gas & Electric made famous in the motion picture "Erin Brockovich."
Anniston resident Marty Rollins, who has suffered two bouts of cancer and can no longer safely grow okra, corn or greens in her garden, was relieved by the announcement. “I’m happy,” she said. “It won’t bring back our health, but it’s something.” Judge U.W. Clemons, Senior Federal Judge in Birmingham, Alabama, who presided over the case, will monitor the total clean-up of the community through a special master to be appointed within the next year.
Meanwhile, Monsanto Co. rallied in the market after the announcement, jumping from $3.81 to $26.50 on Instinet, the largest global securities broker, suggesting that even in the wake of scandal, there is no stopping the goliath corporation. Spokesperson and chairman Steve Mathieson was openly defiant in a news conference held yesterday. “People of the world, if after this you still refuse to listen,” he said, “ and still remain hostile toward Monsanto, then we will give full vent to our hostility. We will punish you seven times over for your sins and you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. We will leave your corpses piled up beside your lifeless idols, and we will despise you.” Mr. Mathieson then rose into the sky, where he was joined by an army of angels. “A reign of terror shall descend on all who resist Monsanto, join or perish,” he added.
As of today, Monsanto has not admitted any wrong-doing in the case. For more information, go to Greenpeace.org.