Statement by Debbie Mans, Executive Director & Baykeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper on NJ Attorney General Statement on ExxonMobil Settlement

March 5, 2015
It' s highly unusual for a Governor's aide to take over negotiations like these at any point -- and totally unprecedented when liability against the company had already been decided. Career attorneys and environmental experts at the agencies litigated this case for over ten years, only to have it taken away from them for political purposes. This is wrong, and the people of New Jersey understand that.

In addition, despite the Attorney General's claim, this is not the largest natural resource damages settlement in the history of New Jersey.  Just this past year, New Jersey settled natural resource damage claims on the lower Passaic River for $355 million.  However, only $67 million of that settlement will ever go back into restoring the River and making the community whole. The rest was diverted to the General Fund.

Budget holes should not be filled with dollars meant to restore the places where New Jerseyans live, work and raise their children. It's irresponsibility bordering on immorality.

Once again, Governor Christie has turned his back on our communities who have suffered years of pollution impacts.  Not only will the proposed settlement not address the clean-up, or ultimate restoration, of the site, ExxonMobil has pushed to leave the pollution in place and simply place a cap on the pollution and walk away.