Friday, March 06, 2015

Chris Christie caves to ExxonMobil

Governor sells out New Jersey taxpayers

By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer March 5 at 8:09 PM WashPost

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is going back to the payday lender, selling out future taxpayers to fix a cash crunch of his own design.

Here’s the background. For over a decade, New Jersey had been embroiled in a battle with Exxon Mobil over the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of public land in the northern part of the state. The company was found liable several years ago, but the amount of damages and cleanup costs it owed had not yet been determined.

Expert witnesses for the state ballparked the total figure at $8.9 billion, and a judge was expected to rule on the final number soon. But then, this month, the state’s lawyers swooped in and decided to settle for a mere $225 million, not including undisclosed cleanup costs.

That’s cents on the dollar.

The news was met with outrage from environmentalists and former state officials. A similar case was also settled for pennies on the dollar a few months ago. These are, as New Jersey Sierra Club chapter director Jeff Tittel put it in a phone interview, “dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.”

(More here.)

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