$225 million settlement plan with Exxon ‘outrage,’ NJ lawmakers say

 New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, is the primary sponsor of a resolution condemning a $225 million settlement deal between New Jersey and Exxon over contamination. (AP file photo)  sponsoring a

New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, is the primary sponsor of a resolution condemning a $225 million settlement deal between New Jersey and Exxon over contamination. (AP file photo) sponsoring a

A New Jersey Senate Committee has condemned a proposed settlement of $225 million the Christie administration struck with Exxon Mobil to resolve the company’s liability in connection with contamination at two oil refinery sites.

Supporters of the resolution say the settlement represents far less than the $9 billion sought to restore wetlands and compensate for decades of harm.

If the full legislature approves the resolution, it will go to the judge handling the case, said Sen. Bob Smith, who chairs the Environment Committee

“This settlement shocks the conscience of the people of New Jersey, and we’re asking the judge to set aside the settlement,” said Smith, D-Middlesex. “It also goes to the governor and acting attorney general. I don’t expect them to change their minds or position, but I think we have a chance with the judge.”

Sen. Ray Lesniak said the $225 million settlement plan is an outrage, shortchanging the state by billions.

“I grew up under that giant Exxon sign that Bruce Springsteen made famous in ‘Jungleland,’ and it smelled there,” said Lesniak, D-Union. “It smelled bad, but this settlement smells worse.”

Environmental groups also are also urging that money collected from environmental damage settlements not be diverted into the state’s general fund.

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