New Jersey judge rejects latest bid to block a $225 million Exxon pollution settlement
New Jersey judge rejects latest bid to block a $225 million Exxon pollution sett

A New Jersey judge has ordered that environmental groups couldn't interfere in the state's $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil over contaminated gas stations and other sites. However, the groups have promised to keep fighting.

WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron has reported that Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan has ordered that state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union/Elizabeth) and the four groups do not have permission to bring the lawsuit. This is for the second time that Hogan has denied their petition.

Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said, "All it means is the next move is up to us, and we are going to be appealing the judge's ruling. We believe that this is bad for the environment; bad for the taxpayers of New Jersey".

According to Tittel, Exxon should pay the $8.9 billion in damages and for cleaning up the sites, and not the $225 million the state has agreed to.

The case has been going on since 2004 when the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state attorney general came up with a lawsuit against Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp.

As per the suit, Exxon's petroleum refining plants in Linden and Bayonne led to the contamination of the land and water. The state wanted to recover losses that arose from the lack of use of the land and the groundwater contamination.

The company was found to be liable by a judge at trial, but no damage amount was decided until August. Then attorneys sent a letter to the judge and asked him to refrain from ruling as the two parties had 'agreed on the general parameters of a settlement'. On February 20, they notified the judge they had reached an agreement.

"This miscarriage of justice will not stand," Lesniak said in a statement. "Judge Hogan has denied the public its right to appeal the biggest environmental contamination case in the history of the state."

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