The Christie Administration has not settled or proposed settling the $8.9 billion lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp for only $250 million dollars, as was first reported by The New York Times last week.
According to a high ranking government official who is not authorized to speak for Christie or the Attorney General’s office, under the terms of the proposed settlement which has yet to be approved by Superior Court Judge Michael J. Hogan (Burlington County), Exxon Mobil would be responsible for the cost of clean up and remediation of the Bayway in Bayonne and Linden, in addition to the $250 million which is to compensate New Jersey for the loss of use of the contaminated real estate and marsh lands.
Still, the $250 million would appear to be a bargain for the giant oil company which reported profits of only $6.57 billion last quarter, a 21% decline from the same quarter in the prior year. New Jersey sought $2.6 billion for the cost of restoration of the contaminated sites and $6.3 billion for the loss of use.
There has been widespread speculation that Christie pushed for the settlement of $6.05 billion less than the amount claimed in the decade long litigation in order to use $200 million of the proceeds to balance his 2016 State Budget. At his Town Hall meeting in Burlington County last week, Christie said that his reliance on “one shot” revenue sources like law suit proceeds is only 3% of the budget compared to the 13% reliance on “one shots” he inherited in the budget left by former Governor Jon Corzine.