The Assembly Judiciary Committee, headed by Chairman John McKeon (D-27), heard from state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), activists and residents during a public hearing on the Gov. Chris Christie administration’s proposed $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil.
Lesniak addressed the committee early on during the roughly 90-minute hearing, later summarizing his thoughts when speaking one-on-one with Hudson County View.
Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, – also a staunch critic of Christie for years – said residents need to be fairly compensated for the damage created by Exxon pollution.
Peggy Wong, a board member of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy – as well as the president of the Coalition to Preserve the Palisades Cliffs – expressed her concern over the Bayonne portion of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway being contaminated by Exxon.
Additionally, Michael Rusigno, a 20-plus year Bayonne resident who founded the Bayonne Nature Club with his wife, expressed his frustration with the potential settlement by clearly stating: “this deal stinks as bad as the bank vaults in Hell where ExxonMobil keep their money.”
Furthermore, Matthew Zwerling, a-20-year-old Flemington resident that attends the University of Florida, said the Exxon settlement fulfills stereotypes people outside of New Jersey have regarding the Garden State.
The last speaker of the day, Evelyn Sabol, 79, who has lived in Bayonne her whole life, actually stood up for ExxonMobil in this situation.
Before calling it a day, we also caught up with McKeon to get his take on the state’s decade-long litigation with Exxon.