The details on the proposed $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil regarding the pollution surrounding refineries in Linden and Bayonne did not include execution plans, nor cleanup costs, leaving Bayonne political leaders concerned with the budget.
“I’m concerned about the monetary value. I’m also concerned of whether the local communities will receive any financial benefit,” said LD-31 Assembly candidate Nick Chiaravalloti.
The details were recently published in the New Jersey Register and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will decide whether or not to approve this agreement after 60 days during which the public can comment.
If the deal goes forward, there will be an anticipated budget battle over the $225 million.
“It’s a step in the right direction but we really need to understand how the monies will be divvied up,” Council President Sharon Nadrowski told Hudson County View.
Under Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed 2016 budget, $50 million will go to site cleanup and the rest would go to the general fund.
The Democrat-controlled legislature does not agree with Christie’s Administration on settling for less than 3 percent of the original $8.9 billion sought after for damages. A bill was issued to require half of the money from the settlement to be dedicated to clean up, which Christie hasn’t taken action on yet.
Superior Court Judge Michael Higo will rule on the deal in June.
“The settlement is a damages settlement. As far as the cleanup, which is what we are more worried about, Exxon still has to pay for the cleanup,” stated Mayor Jimmy Davis.