Details of $225M Exxon settlement outrage NJ environmentalists

Details of the Christie administration’s proposed $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil, now posted on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s website, are raising hackles.

The deal hammered out last with acting State Attorney General aims to resolve a decade-old lawsuit claiming Exxon polluted the land and water around oil refineries in Linden and Bayonne.

But New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said Monday posted details of the deal show the settlement is more favorable to Exxon.

“I think the dirty deal got dirtier. When you actually read the entire settlement agreement, it’s not really a settlement, it’s a sellout,” he said. “It includes 16 other sites. Some of them are very contaminated and quite large like the 950-acre Paulsboro refinery.”

Assembly Judiciary Committee chairman John McKeon said he’s pleased the state is extending the public comment period on the proposed settlement to 60 days.

“Something that was 125 years in the making and 10 years of litigation to have a public comment period limited to 30 days was just unacceptable,” said McKeon, D-Essex. “So at least, happily, we’ll have additional time to analyze this and make our opinions know to the courts.”

McKeon and other critics say the proposed settlement represents only a fraction of the damages sought and does not go far enough to require the restoration of polluted wetlands.

Damges have been estimated at $9 billion to restore wetlands and compensate for decades of harm.

The settlement must be approved by a judge.

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