Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman John McKeon (D-27) are asking Gov. Chris Christie’s administration for answers regarding the reported $250 million settlement for ExxonMobil to end the state’s $8.9 billion lawsuit against them.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In light of The New York Times reporting the controversial settlement, regarding the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in Northern New Jersey (including Bayonne) – Prieto and McKeon released a joint statement on the topic.
They said the NJ Assembly will hold a hearing to discuss the settlement on Thursday, March 19.
“If what’s been reported is accurate, then this is an egregiously irresponsible decision that raises many, many questions and concerns,” Prieto said in the statement.
“The public health of our residents and our environment are priorities, especially in areas long subject to pollution and misuse. That’s why this settlement would be difficult to comprehend. Taxpayers deserve a public discussion as to how such a decision could be made. The Assembly intends to give it to them.”
McKeon was much more incensed than Prieto when addressing the subject.
“The reported settlement is appalling and disturbing,” McKeon stated. “The Christie administration appears more interested in rewarding Exxon Mobil – for whatever reason – than protecting taxpayers and our environment.”
“This calls into question Gov. Christie’s leadership and decision-making abilities. Gov. Christie and his administration owe the people of New Jersey a clear public explanation. This will be their chance to provide it. I don’t want excuses. I want answers.”
McKeon also noted that the Attorney General’s Office, among others, will be invited to testify at the March 19 hearing.