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Judge Hogan Approved Christie’s Sweetheart Exxon Deal – Even Though NJ Said NO!

Judge Hogan Approved Christie’s Sweetheart Exxon Deal – Even Though NJ Said NO!

For the past 100 years, Exxon’s petroleum waste pollution within its Linden and Bayonne sites has destroyed approximately 1,700 acres of delicate salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, upland meadows, and streams. These two sites represent the largest hazardous waste sites in NJ. The Bayonne site alone has over 7 million gallons of oil floating on top of ground water.

The damage caused by Exxon was estimated to cost $8.9 billion, according to NJ Department of Environmental Protection for the excavation, restoration, off-site mitigation, and compensation for lost public resources. However, Governor Chris Christie’s administration has quietly and quickly proposed a settlement for just $225 million. Settlement details on April 6, 2015  here. Even more crooked is that only the first $50 million out of the $225 proposed settlement would go towards site restoration due to appropriation language the Christie administration inserted in the FY2014-15 budget. Monies exceeding the initial $50 million would go into New Jersey’s General Fund to be used for any purpose.  This budget language must not be included in the FY2015-16 budget.

Complete environmental remediation of contaminated sites should not be sacrificed for Christie’s budget shortfalls and favors given to presidential donors.

In August 2015, a NJ court approved Christie’s sweetheart deal with Exxon for a mere $225 million and we are deeply disappointed because the residents living near the contaminated sites will likely see no relief whatsoever.

ExxonMobil could simply leave the pollution in place, place a cap over it, put a fence around it and walk away.  A cleanup does not restore the natural resources or provide for a functioning ecosystem. The settlement will not go nearly far enough to restore what has been lost to the public at the hands of ExxonMobil. Click here for ExxonMobil Settlement Documents

We Took Several Actions to Make Sure the Public’s Voice Was Heard and Opposed the Settlement 

NY/NJ Baykeeper filed to intervene in the case but the court denied our request. However our attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) were allowed to participate in the oral arguments as a “friend of the court.”   We argued that it is important that the public’s voice be heard and that wetlands, waterways and habitat are restored.

2,532 comments were generated from New Jersey residents opposing the $225 million settlement. 

Click here for Debbie Mans’ testimony – March 19, 2015.

Events

Public Hearing on June 3 – A key committee in the legislature met in Bayonne. The public had the opportunity to speak out to help show the Department of Environmental Protection that this deal is bad for our state and discussed how Exxon’s pollution impacted their lives.

Statehouse Rally on June 4 – NY/NJ Baykeeper along with NJ League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and others participated in an  Exxon Lobby Day and Rally in Trenton on the Statehouse steps. Following the rally, folks walked to the NJDEP to deliver public comments opposing the settlement.

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