Big wins can happen in small places. The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals.
The settlement was approved last year, but details were worked out only weeks ago as to how the funds were to be spent.
The settlement will require Monsanto to do the following:
- $9 million will be spent to clean dioxin contaminated dust from 4500 homes.
- $21 million will be spent to test to see if people have been poisoned with dioxin.
- Citizens will be monitored for such poisoning for 30 years, not just a few months.
- An additional $63 million is to be allotted if additional tests for dioxin contamination testing is necessary.
- Anyone who lived in the Nitro area between Jan. 1, 1948, and Sept. 3, 2010 will be tested for dioxin. Although they must show proof they lived in the area, they will be eligible for testing even if they no longer live in Nitro.
- Former or present employees of Monsanto are not eligible for any of these benefits.
- An office will be set up to organize testing for Nitro citizens. The registration of participants is to be overlooked by Charleston attorney Thomas Flaherty, who was appointed by the court.
- Residents have a right to file individual suits against Monsanto if medical tests show they suffered physical harm due to dioxin exposure.