Judge approves Gov. Christie’s $225 million settlement with Exxon

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Judge Approves N.J.-Exxon Settlement.

While a New Jersey judge approved the state’s $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil, he expressed concern over delayed cleanup at a polluted creek, which a state lawmaker says could open up a route to appeal the decision. * Another wild ride: “U.S. stocks closed lower, after a failed attempt to rally from the Dow’s worst 3-day point decline in history, as investors lost confidence amid continued concerns about China and global growth.” * New Jersey: “A $225 million deal between Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and ExxonMobil over dozens of polluted sites and nearly 2,000 retail gas stations, ending an 11-year legal battle that the state calls historic and opponents call a sell-out. Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan ruled that while the deal is much less than the $8.9 billion the state originally sought, it is a “reasonable compromise” considering “substantial litigation risks” faced by the state in the case that spanned both Democratic and Republican governors. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Tuesday in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call ahead of release that she would be joining with Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Whip Richard J.

The settlement is “fair, reasonable, in the public interest, and consistent with the goals of the Spill Compensation and Control Act,” the judge wrote, noting that the settlement is on top of Exxon’s responsibility to clean up the sites. The agreement calls for delaying remediation at the site until refinery operations cease, which Lesniak says could be as late as the year “3009.” Currently the refinery is owned by Phillips 66. Durbin of Illinois in lining up in favor of the international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear development.” * Some of our closest allies have no idea what Republicans are complaining about: “Given the sound, fury and millions of dollars swirling around the debate in Washington over the Iranian nuclear deal, the silence in Europe is striking.

It’s particularly noticeable in Britain, France and Germany, which were among the seven countries that signed the deal on July 14.” * What will the far-right say about this? “People living in the United States illegally have a constitutional right to bear arms but are still barred from doing so by a separate law, a federal appeals court ruled.” * An Ebola milestone: “Health authorities in Sierra Leone released the country’s last known Ebola patient from a hospital on Monday, a milestone that allows the nation to begin a 42-day countdown to being declared free of the virus that has killed nearly 4,000 people here.” * Baby steps: “Let’s all give the world’s quietest, tiniest ‘yay’ for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which last week began allowing women to register to vote in municipal elections for the first time. Technology does not exist that would allow the refinery to operate without using at least 30 million gallons of non-contact cooling water, Hogan said, adding once that technology is developed, either the refinery owner will voluntarily adopt the new technology, or the state will cease to issue a permit. We will continue to fight this sellout.” The state initially sought $8.9 billion from Exxon, and battled the oil company in court for 11 years before the parties notified the court of their proposed settlement in February. Christie, a Republican running for his party’s presidential nomination, has hailed the deal as the nation’s second-largest of its kind against a corporate polluter. “This is an important settlement for the citizens of New Jersey and for our environment, one which came about because this administration aggressively pushed the case to trial,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said.

The litigation stemmed from allegations that Exxon, which owned and operated refineries in the Bayonne area for much of the 20th century, contaminated wetlands, meadows and waterways. He’s expected to be joined by environmental groups, including New Jersey Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Environment New Jersey among others, who may file a separate appeal. Tuesday’s decision follows a 60-day public comment period, which ended June 5, and unsuccessful attempts by eight environmental groups and New Jersey state Sen.

The vast majority of the 16,013 public comments received by the court opposed the settlement, according to Judge Hogan’s ruling. “This is a multibillion-dollar gift to Exxon Mobil from Gov. Environmental advocates complain that the amount of cleanup the company must do is less under the settlement than it would have been if the state had prevailed in the lawsuit. Supreme Court decision forced the breakup of Standard Oil into 34 companies, including Jersey Standard, which changed its name to Exxon Corp. in the 1970s and continued to operate the northern New Jersey refineries.

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