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Monsanto to plead guilty to illegal pesticide use in Hawaii, pay $12 million in fines

The agrochemical company "repeatedly violated laws related to highly regulated chemicals, exposing people to pesticides that can cause serious health problems,” an official said.
Monsanto crew members count corn sprouts in a field of test hybrids in a breeding nursery near Kihei, Hawaii, on Sept. 10, 2014.
Monsanto crew members count corn sprouts in a field of test hybrids in a breeding nursery near Kihei, Hawaii, on Sept. 10, 2014.Matthew Thayer / AP file
/ Source: Associated Press

HONOLULU — The Monsanto agrochemical company said Thursday in court documents that it has agreed to plead guilty to illegally using and storing pesticides in Hawaii and will pay $12 million in fines.

The court filing said Monsanto agreed to plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes after workers were allowed to go into corn fields last year on Oahu after glufosinate ammonium-based product named Forfeit 280 was sprayed on the fields.

Federal law prohibits people from entering areas where the chemical is sprayed within six days of application.

The company will also plead guilty to two felony crimes related to the storage of a banned chemical on Maui, according to the Department of Justice.

“Monsanto is a serial violator of federal environmental laws,” U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison said in a statement. “The company repeatedly violated laws related to highly regulated chemicals, exposing people to pesticides that can cause serious health problems.”