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Property Values

Helena, MT: (Mar-17-08) Several land owners along Big Spring Creek near Lewistown brought lawsuits against the state of Montana, and chemical giant Monsanto Co., alleging that their property lost value after PCBs in paint used on fish hatchery raceways contaminated the creek. The suit was brought by the landowners following a 10-year-old boy's science experiment in 1997 that discovered polychlorinated biphenyl contamination in the creek, which was later traced to paint on raceways at the Big Springs Trout Hatchery. That led to the property value lawsuits which were scheduled to be tried this week. The landowners also filed suit against the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, asking a judge to order the state to clean up the creek to state standards.

Experts stated that PCBs are a mixture of synthetic and organic chemicals and were used in a variety of products before a congressional ban in 1977. They are a suspected carcinogen and are said to be a possible threat to the reproductive system, causing neurobehavioral and developmental deficiencies in newborns exposed in the womb, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

As part of a settlement reached in the case, the state of Montana agreed to pay $700,000 to owners of about 115 parcels of land. Monsanto also agreed to a settlement, but terms of the agreement are being kept confidential. The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks subsequently brought charges against the chemical giant seeking to recover cleanup costs. [BILLINGS GAZETTE: PARTIAL SETTLEMENT REACHED IN LEWISTOWN PCB CASE]


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Published on Mar-18-08


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