Aug 30, 2015

Governor Christie’s Gift to Exxon Mobil - Billion$

The New York Times
For years, New Jersey officials have been trying to make Exxon Mobil Corporation pay for their "staggering and unprecedented" pollution of the state's northeastern wetlands. The price tag for damages and cleanup of more than 1,500 acres in the Linden and Bayonne areas was estimated at $8.9 billion. Gov. Chris Christie settled for a payout of $225 million from Exxon, a paltry sum that won the approval of a state judge earlier this week.

That ruling by Judge Michael Hogan of New Jersey's Superior Court is a major setback for the environment and the taxpayers of New Jersey.  As Margaret Brown, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said after the ruling, "This is a multi-billion gift to ExxonMobil from Governor Christie and his administration, at the expense of New Jersey residents."

Exxon's predecessors began dumping toxic substances into the marshlands in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Nearly a century later, the state courts held Exxon liable for damages, and the company has spent around $260 million so far to cap and control pollution at these sites.

These once-pristine areas turned dumping grounds were described as "sludge lagoons" in a state report a few years ago. State officials described the Bayonne site, for example, as soaked with decades' worth of petroleum, 15 feet deep in some places.  Once-thriving salt marshes were turned solid by the contaminants — all of which should be removed, not capped or covered.