Assemblyman John F. McKeon, Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee vice-chair, issued the following statement Monday after raising concerns about the Christie administration’s $225 million settlement of an $8.9 billion claim against Exxon Mobil Corp. during a hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2016 Department of Environmental Protection budget:
“Today’s hearing reaffirmed that in filing just one natural resources damage claim – less than 1 percent of the 151 claims filed during previous administrations, starting with the McGreevey administration – the Christie administration has shown a blatant and unrepentant disregard for New Jersey’s environment.
“It’s disappointing that the Christie administration has failed to hold Exxon’s feet to the fire. Beyond the Bayway and Bayonne sites, the administration has given this company a ‘get out of jail free’ card for its liability at 16 other industrial sites in the state.
“Exxon Mobil must be held fully accountable for the damages to our state’s natural resources. As we continue to receive comments from the public regarding this settlement, members of the legislature will remain vigilant and unyielding in the pursuit of justice for the environment on behalf of New Jersey residents.”