Before the Blast, West Fertilizer’s Monsanto Lawsuit

As details emerge about the Texas fertilizer plant that was the site of Wednesday’s fatal explosion and fire, a few tidbits can be gleaned from a 2007 lawsuit that the plant’s owners filed against agribusiness giant Monsanto Co.

Firefighter conduct search and rescue of an apartment destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas

The suit, filed as a potential class action in U.S. District Court for the western district of Texas, claimed that Monsanto had artificially inflated prices for its herbicide Roundup through anti-competitive actions. The suit did not relate to storing fertilizer, believed to be at the root of Wednesday’s blast.

The suit was filed by Texas Grain Storage Inc. The company now calls itself West Fertilizer Co.

In the suit, the company said that it was started in 1957 as a grain-storage business by the Plasek family in the town of West, Texas. It later built a small fertilizer-blend plant and started selling fertilizer to area farmers.

Zak Covar, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, told a news conference Wednesday that the fertilizer storage and blending facility had been there since 1962.

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