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Spokane sues Monsanto over river contamination

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Monsanto products (GETTY IMAGES)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The city of Spokane is suing the international agrochemical giant Monsanto, which it blames for pollution in the Spokane River.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane, alleges that the company sold chemicals for decades that it knew were a danger to people and the environment.

The suit doesn’t specify the damages being sought. But Marlene Feist, the city’s utilities spokeswoman, called the suit “long-term litigation,” and noted that the city will spend $300 million in the coming years to keep polychlorinated biphenyls and other pollutants from entering the river. Monsanto was the sole producer of PCBs between 1935 and 1979, when Congress banned most of them. The chemicals were used in many products, including paint, hydraulic fluids, sealants and ink.

Monsanto says it was a previous incarnation of the company that produced the PCBs and it’s not liable for any damages.