Atrazine Settlement Provides Millions to Water Utilities

Atrazine Settlement Provides Millions to Water Utilities

    By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

A class action lawsuit alleging that the herbicide Atrazine contaminated various Midwestern water supplies has been settled. As part of the settlement, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. (Syngenta), the maker of Atrazine, has agreed to pay $105 million to over 1100 class members, consisting of water utilities across the Midwest.  (Indianapolis will reportedly receive $1 million).

The lawsuit claimed that Atrazine entered various communities' water supplies in amount in excess of the limits allowed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Atrazine is a herbicide used in the Midwest and Great Plains to control grasses and weeds in corn, sorghum, and other row crops. In a previous blog post, I explained how one expert from Syngenta addressed Atrazine's critics.

Attorney Stephen M. Tillery was quoted in the Indiana Lawyer with a different opinion: "Science has been fighting an uphill battle against giant pesticide manufacturers like Syngenta who claim that a little weed killer in your drinking water won't hurt you. Independent scientists now believe that even trace amounts can harm you and your children for generations to come."

The debate on Atrazine's long term effects in ground water will no doubt continue. For now, a number of water utilities will find themselves the recipients of significant sums for use in removing Atrazine from drinking supplies.

For more about City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., click here.

Todd J. Janzen, a partner at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, represents buyers and sellers of commercial and industrial properties and other business assets in transactional, regulatory compliance and business litigation matters.  Todd also assists landowners with cost recovery and environmental clean up efforts.  He has a vibrant agricultural law practice and is a founding member and past chair of the Indiana State Bar Association's Agricultural Law Section. Todd serves as the General Counsel to the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers, an organization representing more than 200 dairy farmers in Indiana, and is a frequent author and speaker on agricultural law and commercial real estate topics.

Read more at Janzen Ag Law Blog by Todd Janzen.

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