SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
Reacting to a reported settlement by the Christie Administration with Exxon Mobil that would allow the oil company to pay only $250 million for $8.9 billion in environmental damage, Senator Raymond Lesniak vowed to challenge the settlement "every step of the way until the state gets just compensation for the damage done by the company's Bayway and Bayonne refineries to more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, meadows and waterways destroyed or damaged"
"I grew up under that giant Exxon sign in the Bayway section of Elizabeth and feel personally offended at this weak effort by the Christie Administration in securing fair compensation for the extensive contamination admittedly done by Exxon Mobile to our environment," said Senator Lesniak. "They are settling for three cents on the dollar in a case where Exxon's responsibility has already been established. This is a grossly inadequate amount of compensation that lets the mega oil company off the hook."
The lawsuits, originally filed in 2004 by the state Department of Environmental Protection and aggressively pursued by three administrations, went to trial last year with Exxon's liability already established. With a Superior Court judge expected to rule on damages, the Christie Administration asked the court to hold off on its decision. A news account by The New York Times disclosed the reported $250 million settlement.