REEG Lawyers: Another Frivolous Atrazine Class Action Lawsuit Only Harms U.S. Farmers
on: March 11, 2010, 3:56 am
After plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Monday in
the Southern District of Illinois, Kurtis B. Reeg, attorney for
defendant Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., said another frivolous
atrazine lawsuit only harms U.S. farmers.
“In these tough economic times, one may wonder why anyone – other than class action
lawyers – would seek to destroy what EPA estimates is a $2 billion annual economic
benefit to the nation, and all of the jobs that go with it,” Reeg said. “This
lawsuit has no merit because we know from EPA-mandated testing that no water systems
since 2005 have exceeded the annual average guidance for atrazine. We intend to
defend ourselves vigorously.”
Atrazine is a widely-used herbicide in the U.S. and 60 countries around the world to
help grow safe, affordable and abundant crops, including corn, sorghum, and sugar
cane. EPA re-registered atrazine in 2006, stating it would cause no harm to the
“This suit is no surprise, as the same plaintiffs’ attorneys who have been trying a
wasteful case in Madison County, Ill., have been shopping this around for years,”
said Reeg. “Just last month, plaintiffs in Illinois voluntarily dismissed numerous
damage and liability claims they had made in their case. With that disarray, it
appears attorneys are scrambling to another venue in which to waste scarce taxpayer
resources with junk science and false allegations for personal gain at the expense
of U.S. agriculture.
“Filing in federal court appears to be a mis-step, given the Iberville Parish, La.,
case which was dismissed by Chief Judge Butler in Mobile, Ala., in 1999. Judge
Butler ruled that removing safe and approved levels of atrazine from drinking water
was unnecessary and that shifting the costs of such unnecessary removal was wrong.
This decision was also upheld on appeal, and we hope the court will rely on this
past verdict to guide future decisions.
“Everyone should bear in mind that if a 150-pound adult drank literally thousands of
gallons of water with atrazine at three parts-per-billion every day for 70 years,
she still would not reach the exposure level at which no adverse impact has been
detected in the laboratory.
“We know these communities are strapped for cash, and suing companies to upgrade
their decades-old water systems may seem like an easy way to raise money, but it
only harms local farmers who rely on these safely-regulated crop protection tools
for their livelihood and to help cost-effectively feed a quickly growing consumer
“The many statements by farmers and their associations attest to their support for
atrazine and its safety in use. They have for half a century. EPA’s atrazine
regulation is a model of sound science carefully applied in its mission of
protecting all Americans and our environment.
“As a hallmark of good stewardship, my client worked voluntarily with stakeholders
for years and since then also with EPA to monitor the water systems where minute
detections of atrazine may occasionally occur. Since 2005, no water system has had
an annual average atrazine level in its drinking water greater than the EPA
standard, which itself carries a 1000-fold safety factor.
“The mere filing of this new lawsuit suggests additional forum shopping by
out-of-town attorneys who turn neighbor against neighbor to seek profit for
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