Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney today submitted the attached “comment” to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of the Senate Democratic Majority opposing the proposed ExxonMobil settlement that would allow the oil company to escape responsibility for the damage to natural resources at sites throughout the state.
“The DEP has proposed a settlement whereby Exxon would be released from damages not only arising out of the harm caused by the Bayway and Bayonne sites, but also for damages resulting from their operations at more than 1,700 retail service stations,” Senator Sweeney said in the submission to the DEP before it acts on the $225 million settlement proposal.
“The Senate vehemently opposes ratification of the consent judgment as there is no verifiable rationale offered for the inclusion of the 16 additional Exxon sites and the approximately 1,700 retail service stations. While the DEP had experts review the damage and estimate the cost to restore the environment after the damages caused by the Bayway and Bayonne sites, they have failed to make public comparable estimates of the damage caused to the State’s natural resources in other parts of the State, such as Atlantic City, Edison, and Florham Park/Morristown.
“Until this information is available, the Senate respectfully urges the DEP to withdraw the current settlement proposal in order that it may fully protect the natural resources of the State and that it may obtain the maximum compensation possible for the devastating environment damage incurred at the Bayonne, Bayway as well as the many other Exxon-operated sites around the state,” Senator Sweeney wrote in urging the DEP to reject the plan.