State, environmentalists clash over $225M Exxon settlement

TRENTON — After originally seeking $8.9 billion, New Jersey’s $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil over dozens of polluted sites is a reasonable compromise considering the substantial legal risks the state faced, a Superior Court judge in Burlington County ruled Tuesday in approving a deal that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration called historic and opponents called a sell-out.

The settlement ending an 11-year legal battle that spanned both Democratic and Republican governors is “fair, reasonable, in the public interest, and consistent with the goals of the Spill Compensation and Control Act,” Judge Michael Hogan wrote. He noted that the settlement is on top of Exxon’s responsibility to clean up the sites, which include two oil refineries in Bayonne and Linden and retail gas stations across New Jersey.

[original article]