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The Environmental Protection Agency no longer Protecting Monsanto?

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For more than a decade, Monsanto and EPA have been accused of collusion, but a federal court said EPA broke the law in approving agricultural weedkilling products sold by Bayer (which bought Monsanto).

Santa Clara, CAA federal court last week slammed the EPA for approving dicamba-based weed-killing products sold by agricultural giants Bayer AG, BASF and Corteva Agriscience, now making it illegal for farmers to use dicamba herbicides. The EPA also sided with Monsanto and its Roundup weedkiller, which has tragically resulted in more than 125,000 Monsanto cancer lawsuits.

Is it just a matter of time before a court ruling will slam the EPA for colluding with Monsanto and its Roundup product? Of those 125,000 lawsuits, almost 53,000 are in the U.S. (Some countries have banned glyphosate completely, while the vast majority have restricted its use.) Plaintiffs worldwide claim that exposure to glyphosate gave them cancer and that Monsanto did not disclose the risk in product labels.

Bayer in Bed with the EPA?

The EPA came to Monsanto’s defense, despite research showing that long-term exposure to glyphosate, including home gardeners along with farmers, increased the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent. The EPA has repeatedly announced that glyphosate is safe for use.

Critics and environmental advocacy organizations have gone so far as to accuse the EPA of colluding with Monsanto. Investigative reporter Carey Gillam wrote in The Guardian that a number of ghostwriters were paid by Monsanto to remove any mention of glyphosate’s toxicity from the safety reports published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“The company denies that Roundup or glyphosate cause cancer, a position backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” reported Bloomberg News.

Bayer Benefits from Pandemic

Plaintiffs suffering with cancer and their families who have been struggling financially and emotionally have been dealt another blow with the coronavirus as litigation and settlements have stalled. One plaintiff will never see his case resolved. Richard Garrison’s attorney filed notice of his death on June 1 with the federal court in San Francisco. Some plaintiffs filed Roundup cancer lawsuits in 2015, and others have also died waiting for resolution.

Paintiff Vincent Tricomi, age 68, has undergone 12 rounds of chemotherapy and five hospital stays fighting his cancer. In his video, Tricomi calls on Bayer executives to agree to settlements and to make changes to warn consumers about potential cancer risks of Roundup.

Meanwhile, Bayer announced last month that it reached verbal agreements to settle between 50,000 to 85,000 of its pending glyphosate cases for a total of $10 billion. US$8 billion will resolve all current cases and $2 billion is set aside to resolve future claims. Each plaintiff will only be entitled to an average of $500,000.

Terms of the Deal – Roundup Stays on Shelves

But Roundup will still be sold in the U.S. to home gardeners and farmers without any safety warnings and plaintiffs’ attorneys will agree to stop taking new cases or advertising for new clients – terms of the deal.

Bayer has also leveraged the coronavirus to reduce potential settlement amounts. According to Bloomberg News, Bayer has started to reduce potential settlement figures due to the effects of the novel coronavirus on its core business, increasing the risk that more plaintiffs will pursue litigation instead of settlement.

Bloomberg reported the following:

…with tens of thousands of cases still unresolved, there’s no guarantee the company will remain within the $8 billion it has budgeted for filed and backlogged lawsuits. Bayer [backed out] of some deals, demanding lawyers take less because of losses tied to the Covid-19 pandemic. That could prompt more lawyers to take their cases out of the settlement.

Covid-19 dynamics, including restrictions imposed in recent weeks, have caused meeting cancellations and delayed this process,” Chris Loder, a U.S.-based Bayer spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “We cannot speculate about potential outcomes from the negotiations or timing, given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and the confidentiality of this process, but we remain committed to engaging” in good-faith talks, Loder said.


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