New Jersey – On October 9, a New Jersey judge named Michael Hogan, rejected the proposition by several environmentalists to block a $225 million settlement between the state of New Jersey and Exxon Mobil over pollution clean-up costs. The judge claimed that, to begin, the environmentalists did not have a standing to demand a suit.
The settlement had been criticized by Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper, Environment New Jersey, and the New Jersey Sierra Club and State Sent. Raymond Lesniak.
This case is particularly polemical, given that the settlement accounts for almost 3 percent of the $8.9 billion in reparation costs that New Jersey said it would seek. The deal was cut under governor Chris Christie’s administration, after 10 years of legal proceedings.
The case path
Over several months all the environmental groups and Democratic legislators involved, have been figuring out how to intervene in the case since the settlement was issued in the first quarter of 2015. Their hopes were killed last Friday when the Superior Court Judge denied their latest attempt.
“This miscarriage of justice will not stand. Judge Hogan has denied the public its right to appeal the biggest environmental contamination case in the history of the state.” said State Senator Raymond Lesniak in a statement, as Reuters reported.
The state of New Jersey sued Exxon mobil back in 2004, because the company was contaminating from its refinery operations in Bayonne and Linden. New Jersey stated that this action included more than 1,700 gas stations and the situation was happening for decades.
The agreement claims that Exxon has to cap and and fill the sites, in order to prevent further over pollution. However, in the deal-terms, the company does not have to clean up any existing contaminants. Some adversaries to this deal stated this is a necessary aspect in any deal reached with Exxon Mobil.
“This deal only requires Exxon to cap and fill the sites. Which is not really a cleanup. Instead of cleaning it up, they would leave tons of oil and chemicals in the ground. These sites are extremely contaminated and impact streams and wetlands.” said the New Jersey Sierra Club in a statement on their website.
As Reuters reported, the damage helped turn more than 1,500 acres of wetlands and marshes into toxic wastelands, the state said.