New Jersey judge denies environmental group intervention in Exxon settlement

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A judge has ruled that the environmental groups in the New Jersey could not interfere in the states $225 million settlement with the Exxon Mobil regarding the dirty gas stations and other sites. But the groups have also promised that they won’t give up on it so easily and put more efforts in it.

Michael Hogan, the Superior Court Judge has ruled that the state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union/Elizabeth) and the other four groups have no permission to file the lawsuit. This is the second time that Hogon has denied their petition.

“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,” said Jeff Tittle of the New Jersey Seirra Club.

Tittle said that Exxon should pay $8.9 billion in damages and for cleaning up the sites, and not $225 million which the state had agreed to.

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

The suit is against Exxon’s petroleum refining plants in Bayonne and Linden that has led to the contamination of the land and water. So the state wanted recover its losses that arose from the lack of use of land and the ground water contamination.

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

“We believe that this is bad for the environment; bad for the taxpayers of New Jersey,” he said.

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