For 10 years, New Jersey has fought – and won – a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil for dumping refinery garbage into New Jersey’s land and water. New Jersey’s environmental protection agency said it would take $2.6 billion just to clean up the sludge and muck and that it had lost $6.3 billion in other damages. Exxon had already lost, meaning that all New Jersey was waiting for was a judge’s decision about how much Exxon had to pay. Most experts expected that number would be in the many-billions of dollars. But, then…duh duh duh…the state told the court the case had been settled.
Neither Governor Chris Chistie’s government nor Exxon would disclose the amount that Exxon would be paying taxpayers to clean up the mess. But, two people leaked the figure: $250 million. Now, that seems like a lot of money, until you realize that it is less than 10 percent of what it will cost just to put the land back to where it was. Exxon has $4.6 billion in cash in the bank, and this settlement is the equivalent of less than 3 days Exxon profits – not revenue – profits.
Here’s another fun fact: the $250,000,000 payment is probably getting swept out of the fund to clean up the land and will be used to plug Christie’s budget shortfalls caused by cutting taxes on rich companies and people.
So, if you believe that good, clean land and business are for suckers and the object of government is to siphon off cash for the 1%, then this settlement is a giant victory. Congratulations.
If you believe that everyone ought to be accountable for their garbage, then pray that the judge in the case throws out the settlement and makes Exxon pay what it owes the taxpayers of New Jersey.