For the past 100 years, Exxon’s petroleum waste pollution within its Linden and Bayonne sites has destroyed approximately 1,700 acres of delicate salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, upland meadows, and streams. These two sites represent the largest hazardous waste sites in NJ. The Bayonne site alone has over 7 million gallons of oil floating on top of ground water.
The damage caused by Exxon was estimated to cost $8.9 billion, according to NJ Department of Environmental Protection for the excavation, restoration, off-site mitigation, and compensation for lost public resources. However, Governor Chris Christie’s administration has quietly and quickly proposed a settlement for just $225 million. Settlement details on April 6, 2015 here. Even more crooked is that only the first $50 million out of the $225 proposed settlement would go towards site restoration due to appropriation language the Christie administration inserted in the FY2014-15 budget. Monies exceeding the initial $50 million would go into New Jersey’s General Fund to be used for any purpose. This budget language must not be included in the FY2015-16 budget.
Complete environmental remediation of contaminated sites should not be sacrificed for Christie’s budget shortfalls and favors given to presidential donors.
In August 2015, a NJ court approved Christie's sweetheart deal with Exxon for a mere $225 million and we are deeply disappointed because the residents living near the contaminated sites will likely see no relief whatsoever.
ExxonMobil could simply leave the pollution in place, place a cap over it, put a fence around it and walk away. A cleanup does not restore the natural resources or provide for a functioning ecosystem. The settlement will not go nearly far enough to restore what has been lost to the public at the hands of ExxonMobil. Click here for ExxonMobil Settlement Documents
We Took Several Actions to Make Sure the Public's Voice Was Heard and Opposed the Settlement
NY/NJ Baykeeper filed to intervene in the case but the court denied our request. However our attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) were allowed to participate in the oral arguments as a “friend of the court.” We argued that it is important that the public’s voice be heard and that wetlands, waterways and habitat are restored.
2,532 comments were generated from New Jersey residents opposing the $225 million settlement.
Click here for Debbie Mans' testimony - March 19, 2015.
Public Hearing on June 3 - A key committee in the legislature met in Bayonne. The public had the opportunity to speak out to help show the Department of Environmental Protection that this deal is bad for our state and discussed how Exxon's pollution impacted their lives.
Statehouse Rally on June 4 - NY/NJ Baykeeper along with NJ League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and others participated in an Exxon Lobby Day and Rally in Trenton on the Statehouse steps. Following the rally, folks walked to the NJDEP to deliver public comments opposing the settlement.
- Judge Sides with Exxon in $225 Million Settlement, Brenda Flanagan, NJTV, August 26, 2015
- Judge Approves Christie's $225M Settlement with Exxon, James O'Neill, The Record, August 25, 2015
- 5 Things to Know About Christie's Exxon Settlement, SP Sullivan, NJ.com, August 26, 2015
- Judge: Environmentalists, Lezniak Can't Intervene in Exxon Mobil case, Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight, July 14, 2015
- Judge Denies Groups' Efforts to Intervene in ExxonMobil Case, AP, 101.5, July 13, 2015
- Christie Administration Failed Public on Exxon Deal, Groups Tell Judge, SP Sullivan, NJ.com, July 10,2015
- Exxon New Jersey Settlement Under Fire Again as Environmentalists Seek to Join Lawsuit, Maria Gallucci, International Business Times, June 10, 2015
- Exxon, State Move to Block Environmental Groups from Testifying Against $225 Million Settlement, Jim O'Neill, The Record, July 7, 2015
- No Evidence of Collusion in Exxon Pollution Deal, State Lawyers Say, SP Sullivan, NJ.com, June 7, 2015
- Environmentalists File in NJ Court to Intervene in $225M Exxon Settlement, Scott Fallon, The Record, June 10, 2015
- 9,000 Letters, Emails Protest Exxon Settlement, Jim O'Neill, The Record, June 9, 2015
- Opponents Blast Christie's Exxon Deal as State Prepares to Send to Judge, SP Sullivan, NJ.com, June 5, 2015
- Exxon Mobil Agreement Horrific, Joseph Passantino, Hudson Reporter, April 15, 2015
- NJ's Settlement with Exxon: Good Deal or a Dirty One, Michael Symons, Asbury Park Press, April 10, 2015
- New Criticism After New Jersey Posts Text of Exxon Settlement, Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, April 7, 2015
- Opponents Vow to Fight Exxon Settlement Before It Goes Before Judge, SP Sullivan, NJ.com, April 7, 2015
- A Gift to ExxonMobil? Democracy Now, Bob Hennelly, March 20, 2015
- NJ Lawmakers Say Christie's Exxon Deal Stinks, The Take Away, Bob Hennelly, March 19, 2015
- NYC Lawmakers Blast Controversial NJ Exxon Deal, City and State, Bob Hennelly, March 16, 2015
- State Senate Moves on Several Fronts to Block Exxon Mobil Settlement, NJ Spotlight, Tom Johnson, March 10, 2015
- Report Details Why New Jersey Originally Sought $8.9 Billion from Exxon, The Record, Scott Fallon and Jim O'Neill, March 9, 2015
- Christie Aid Took Political Trip Before Exxon Settlement, WNCY Radio, Matt Katz, March 5, 2015
- Shortchanging New Jersey by Billions, New York Times, Bradley Campbell, March 4, 2015
- Why New Jersey Settled a Big Oil Spill Case for Only $250 Million, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC Radio, March 2, 2015
- Administration reportedly Settles $8.9B Exxon Lawsuit in a Hurry for Only $250M, NJ Spotlight, Tom Johnson, March 2, 2015
- Exxon Settlement Anger Environmentalists, Lawmakers, NJTV, Brenda Flanagan, March 2, 2015
- Baykeeper Questions Exxon Mobil Settlement, News 12 - Kane in Your Corner, February 28, 2015
- NJ May Settle Multi Billion Lawsuit Against Exxon for Just Millions, Reports Say, NJ.com, SP Sullivan, February 27, 2015
- NJ Agrees to $250 Pollution Settlement from Exxon; State Had Sought $8.9 Billion, Bergen Record, Scott Fallon and Jim O'Neill, February 27, 2015
- Exxon Settles $9 Billion Pollution Case in New Jersey for Far Less, New York Times, Benjamin Weiser, February 27, 2015