Republican Governor Chris Christie is trying to let Exxon Mobil off the hook for polluting 1500 acres in New Jersey.
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 suing Exxon for $8,900,000,000.00.
Christie is now willing to settle the suit for $8,650,000,000.00 less than that amount.
Why would he do this?
Exxons guilt has already been established. The Judge was just about to announce damages but Christie said Yeah….you don’t need to do that….. we are all good here. Exxon will Just give us pennies on the dollar and we will call it done.
This is what happens when a politician puts his personal presidential aspirations above the best interests of his state.
To run for president you need hundreds of millions of dollars. A lot of that comes from industries such as oil and gas. Christie will be up against Jeb Bush whos family is entrenched in the oil industry. This was a chance to curry favor. Here you go Exxon....you keep 8.6 Billion but keep those campaign contributions available.
The stakes were high, given the enormous cost the state’s experts had placed on restoring and replacing the resources damaged by decades of oil refining and other petrochemical operations
“The scope of the environmental damage resulting from the discharges is as obvious as it is staggering and unprecedented in New Jersey,” the administration of Gov. Chris Christie said in a court brief filed in November.
But a month ago, with a State Superior Court judge believed to be close to a decision on damages, the Christie administration twice petitioned the court to hold off on a ruling because settlement talks were underway. Then, last Friday, the state told the judge that the case had been resolved.
Richard B. Stewart, a New York University law professor and a former head of the Justice Department’s environmental division under President George Bush, noted the “striking disparity between the damages claimed, which have been exhaustively litigated, and the settlement amount,” particularly with a judicial ruling expected soon. Mr. Stewart said that it was hard to assess the agreement without knowing the evidence, but that “it raises questions.”
A spokesman for Mr. Christie referred questions about the settlement to the attorney general’s office. A spokesman for the acting attorney general, John J. Hoffman, said on Thursday that the office had no comment, as was its practice with pending litigation. Exxon also declined to comment on the settlement. (Nobody wants to talk about nothing……There is nothing to see here. Just mind your business. Normally you can’t shut Chris Christie up.)
Debbie Mans, the executive director of the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, characterized the proposed deal as “a travesty” and called on the judge to “reject the settlement outright.”
The deal comes at a time when Mr. Christie, a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is experiencing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, and has been forced to defend his decisionto reduce state pension payments.
The damage to the Bayonne and Linden (known as Bayway) sites dated back many years. “Contamination of the land and water at the Bayway and Bayonne refineries began as early as the 1870s in Bayonne and the early 1900s in Bayway and continues to this day,” the state’s expert report says.
“Today, many of these dredge fill areas still look and smell like petroleum waste dumps,” the report continues. “Spilled materials from pipeline ruptures, tank failures or overflows, and explosions have resulted in widespread groundwater, soil and sediment contamination.”
The attorney general’s office said in its brief in November that the sites had been “adversely affected by or buried under the discharge of hazardous substances,” including over 600 identified chemicals.
On the Bayway site, a 2007 court opinion noted, marshland adjacent to a creek was “now mostly covered with a tar of petroleum products or filled with other hazardous constituents and debris.” Another 45 acres comprised “sludge lagoons,” onetime tidal marshes used as hazardous waste disposal facilities.
The state had set the cost of primary restoration of the sites at $2.6 billion;