We reported in January that Scotts Miracle-Gro had entered a guilty plea for knowingly selling bird food they’d poisoned with a pesticide (to prolong its shelf life) and was slapped with a $4.5 million fine. “Too low!” some critics cried. Well, turns out it’s $12.5 mil, with more legal action on its way via angry customers bringing a class action against the company.
From an EPA press release, this is how the fines stack up:
- a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act … This is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date.
- In a separate civil agreement with the EPA Scotts agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolves additional civil pesticide violations. The violations include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. This is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.
- Scotts will contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat, including $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio to support the protection of bird populations and habitats through conservation, research, and education.
The EPA adds:
“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety.”
Class Action group seeking more members
According to the Safe Lawns blog, “At least a dozen, perhaps more civil lawsuits are in the works against Scotts Miracle Gro as a result of its February 2012 admission that it knowingly tainted bird seed with pesticides that are toxic to birds and otherwise misled pesticide regulators in the sales and labeling of more than 100 products. A class-action lawsuit is being readied and lawyers are aggressively seeking consumers who purchased an estimated 73 million tainted bags of Scotts birdseed between November of 2005 and March of 2008.”
I’d so love to see that header a reality, by GWA members challenging the Scotts “chief environmental officer” when he speaks to them next month at their big meeting in Tucson. You know, when he reassures garden writers of Scotts’ commitment to sustainability, blah-blah-blah, like Scotts reassure its captive audience of garden writers every year over the breakfast they pay for.
This is your chance, writers. From the GWA flyer: