N.J. agrees to $250M pollution settlement from Exxon; state had sought $8.9B
By Scott Fallon and James O'Neill
staff writers |
The Christie administration’s reported settlement of an $8.9 billion lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. for just $250 million drew a wide range of criticism Friday against a governor who has leaned heavily on the fossil fuel industry for money to boost his national stature.
Lawyers for the state reportedly settled an 11-year-old lawsuit last week just before a state Superior Court judge was set to rule on the amount Exxon would be penalized for contaminating more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes and meadows in Bayonne and Linden, where it ran oil refineries for decades.
The former state official who brought the lawsuit against Exxon in 2004 called the reported settlement a “betrayal of environmental law enforcement” because state courts had already found Exxon liable for the damage. The only issue remaining was the amount the oil giant would be compelled to pay.
“If these reports are true and...