Monsanto pleads guilty to pesticide-related crimes in Hawaii

By AP News

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HONOLULU (AP) — The Monsanto Company pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally using and storing agricultural chemicals in Hawaii, and will pay $12 million in fines.

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2014 file photo, Monsanto crew members Gerard Manuel, left, and Rommel Angale, right, count corn sprouts in a field of test hybrids in a breeding nursery near Kihei, Hawaii. Monsanto says in court papers, filed Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, that it has agreed to plead guilty to illegally using and storing pesticides in Hawaii and will pay $12 million in fines. In the court filing, the company agreed to plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes after allowing workers to go on corn fields on Oahu after a glufosinate ammonium-based pesticide named Forfeit 280 was sprayed on the fields last year. (Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP, File)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Monsanto Company pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally using and storing agricultural chemicals in Hawaii, and will pay $12 million in fines.

Monsanto, now owned by German pharmaceutical company Bayer, agreed to plead guilty to the charges in December. U.S. District Court judge Michael Seabright in Hawaii accepted the terms Thursday.

Monsanto was charged with 30 environmental crimes after allowing workers to go into corn fields on Oahu in 2020 after a product named Forfeit 280 was sprayed. Federal law prohibits people from entering areas where the chemical is sprayed within six days of application.

Monsanto was sentenced to three years of probation in addition to the fines and will continue an “environmental compliance program” overseen by a third-party auditor.

The company also pleaded guilty to two felonies related to the storage of a banned chemical on Maui and Molokai.

“The company repeatedly violated laws related to highly regulated chemicals, exposing people to pesticides that can cause serious health problems,” said U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison after the plea deal was made.

Monsanto said no adverse health effects were reported.

"The conduct at issue in the agreement is unacceptable and contrary to the values and policies of the company, and we sincerely regret it,” said Darren Wallis, Monsanto’s vice president of communications, in a statement.

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Author: AP News

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