McKeon Seeks Pollution Complaint Information from Attorney General & Department of Environmental Protection

Request Part of Assembly Judiciary Committee Examination of Proposed Christie Administration Settlement with Exxon Mobil

(TRENTON) – Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman John McKeon on Wednesday asked the state Attorney General and Department of Environmental Protection commissioner to provide him a list of all complaints filed by the state since 2004 in which the state sought pollution damages.
The request is part of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s examination of the proposed $225 million settlement agreement between the New Jersey Attorney General’s office and Exxon Mobil for the damage caused by Exxon’s refinery operations in Bayonne and Linden.
The committee last week held its first hearing into the proposed $225 million settlement. New Jersey initially sought $8.9 billion for in damages for contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey.
“The committee’s review of this proposed settlement is of vital importance to the taxpayers of New Jersey and the environmental health of our state,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “Gov. Christie insists this is a good deal for New Jersey, but we need to see where this decision stands in relation to other incidents to decide whether that’s an accurate statement. As part of that work, we need to know the recent history of the state’s complaints. While I remain disappointed in the administration’s refusal so far to give this a full public discussion, I look forward to its cooperation on this basic request.”
In letters to the Attorney General and DEP commissioner, McKeon requested, on behalf of the committee, a list of all the complaints filed by the state since 2004 in which the state seeks recovery of natural resource damages. He requested for each site the name and location, the defendants named in the complaint, a summary of the environmental injury, the year the state filed the complaint, the state’s initial NRD damage claim and, where appropriate, the settlement date, amount and a brief summary of the agreed upon restoration.
“The Bayway and Bayonne contamination is massive in scope and questions about the cleanup remain unanswered, but we also need to see how the state approached such complaints in the past,” McKeon said. “This information would be another piece of the puzzle as we work to responsibly provide taxpayers with the answers they deserve.”
McKeon asked the information be provided no later than Monday, April 6.