A New Jersey judge approved a $225 million ExxonMobil settlement with the State of New Jersey. Originally New Jersey asked for $8.9 billion from ExxonMobil for polluting dozens of different areas in the state.
The lawsuit was filed 11 years ago when democratic Governor Jon Corzine was in office.
“New Jersey sued ExxonMobil for natural resources damage in 2004. The idea was to hold the company responsible not only for cleaning up polluted areas, which include two oil refineries in Bayonne and Linden, as well as other sites and retail gas stations across New Jersey, but to compensate the public for the harm,” reports the Associated Press.
The current governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, called the settlement a success.
“The Christie administration has hailed the deal as the nation’s second-largest of its kind against a corporate polluter,” the Associated Press continued.
Christie, who is also running for the GOP presidential nomination, appeared to be one of the few supporters of the settlement. Environmentalists, many New Jersey citizens, and even a New York Times editorial thought the deal was a bad one.
“Department of Environmental Protection officials said the amount represents the state’s largest natural resource damages settlement amount ever, but Jeff Tittel, head of the New Jersey Sierra Club, called the agreement “the largest sellout in state history,” reports USA Today.
The state opened up a comment period for New Jersey citizens to express their thoughts.
“Tuesday’s decision follows a 60-day public comment period, which ended June 5, and unsuccessful attempts by eight environmental groups and New Jersey state Sen. Raymond Lesniak to intervene in the case. The vast majority of the 16,013 public comments received by the court opposed the settlement, according to Judge Hogan’s ruling,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
You know who else is happy about the settlement? Most likely ExxonMobil. The different between $8.9 billion and $225 million is quite a lot. What a deal.
[Associated Press] [USA Today] [New York Times] [Wall Street Journal] [Photo credit: Mike Derer/Associated Press]