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Poll: Less Than Bargained for -- Rating Christie’s $225M Exxon Settlement

At one time the state was looking for billions of dollars in damages, now it says millions will do

In the past few weeks, perhaps no topic has generated as much discussion and controversy as a proposed $225 million settlement of a long-standing pollution suit against Exxon Mobil Corp. The case, which was originally brought by the state 11 years ago, involves natural-resource damages sought against Exxon for spilling petroleum and tar products at two refineries it once operated in Linden and Bayonne. At one time, New Jersey was seeking to recover $8.9 billion from the company, which already has been held liable by a judge in the case.

What do you think of the drastically reduced settlement the state is asking for?

  • I agree with Gov. Chris Christie who called it “a really good settlement.’’ The money would come on top of what the company will have to spend to clean up pollution at the two refineries, other facilities, and service stations that may have contaminated groundwater.

  • By settling now, the state avoids having the case continue to be litigated, should Exxon Mobil deem damages awarded by the court are too severe. The Christie administration claims it is the largest award from a single corporation ever settled in New Jersey.

  • The settlement is way too low and smells of a sweetheart deal with a corporation that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Governors Association at a time when Christie led the organization.

  • Too little of the money will go to restoring marshes, wetlands, and waterways polluted by the company’s action -- the purpose of so-called natural-resource damage suits. The settlement is far less than the billions of dollars sought in the lawsuit for restoration.

  • The Legislature should do whatever it can to block the deal -- either by passing legislation or intervening in the court case to convince the judge to reject the proposed settlement. It also needs to prevent any of the settlement money from being used to plug holes in the state budget, rather than restoring natural areas.

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