Pallone Statement on Details of Controversial ExxonMobil Settlement

Apr 6, 2015 Issues: Environment, New Jersey

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) released the following statement today in response to emerging details of the Christie Administration’s controversial settlement with ExxonMobil.  In March, the Christie Administration announced its decision to settle New Jersey’s $8.9 billion environmental damage lawsuit against ExxonMobil for a mere $225 million.  The proposed settlement, released by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection today, comes after an 11-year legal battle to recover damages from ExxonMobil for the contamination of more than 1,800 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey: 

“The Christie Administration’s misguided decision to settle for a fraction of what New Jersey should receive from the multi-billion dollar environmental damage lawsuit against ExxonMobil threatens to destroy years of hard work and set an extremely dangerous precedent for future polluters to degrade our state with virtually no consequences.  Instead of holding ExxonMobil accountable for the extensive contamination of our state’s land and resources and fighting to ensure that New Jerseyans are rightfully compensated, the Christie Administration is letting big oil off the hook for this staggering environmental damage. 

“Not only do our state and its residents deserve to be adequately compensated for the degradation of our land and resources, Exxon Mobil’s attempts – supported by the Christie Administration – to continue shave off their responsibility are an insult to New Jersey.  I am further troubled that this settlement lets Exxon off the hook at 16 other facilities in the state where contamination has occurred.

“Make no mistake – the fight is not yet over.  There is still an opportunity for New Jerseyans to make their voices heard.  From now until June 5th, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is required to hold a public comment period in order to allow residents throughout the state to make their voices heard on this critical issue.  NJDEP must then decide whether to approve the final settlement agreement after receiving input from the public.  We must make sure that our opinions are heard and continue to stand as a united front in order to make clear that corporations cannot wreak havoc on our communities without consequence.”