“New Jersey is not going to get the necessary resources to restore all the damage that has been done to the ecosystem, to the waterways, to the wetlands and to the marshlands that protect North Jersey – my area in Elizabeth and Linden and Bayonne – from storm surges”, said Lesniak, D-Union.
Exxon Mobil Corp’s controversial 5 million settlement with New Jersey of a longstanding environmental pollution case won approval on Tuesday from a state judge, despite objections from critics who viewed the accord as a sellout.
The settlement drew intense criticism from both environmentalists and Democrats in the state legislature because it was so much smaller than the almost $9 billion the state had originally sought when it first filed the case during the McGreevey administration.
Christie, a Republican running for his party’s presidential nomination, has hailed the deal as the nation’s second-largest of its kind against a corporate polluter, but the deal has been slammed by environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers who say the settlement is just a fraction of the billions of dollars New Jersey should have recovered.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said the state can still pursue some claims against Exxon, including over damages to the Arthur Kill, Newark Bay and other surface waters. Exxon had agreed to remediate the sites before trial; all that was left to determine was what, if anything, the company owed New Jersey in natural resource damages.
The heart of Hogan’s argument appears to be that the state risked getting less, or nothing, if the case proceeded through a trial.
The deal covered properties such as the gas stations that were not part of the lawsuit.
Under law, about $50 million of the settlement will go toward site remediation. They notified him on February 20 that they had reached an agreement.
In addition, Hogan wrote, the settlement was in the public interest. Another roughly $50 million will go toward the state’s private legal costs.
Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon, called the accord a “fair and reasonable conclusion” that offers “certainty and finality”.