• 15 hours Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 16 hours Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 16 hours Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 16 hours Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 18 hours Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 19 hours Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 20 hours Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 21 hours U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 1 day Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 2 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 2 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 2 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 2 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 2 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 4 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 5 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 5 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 5 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 5 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 5 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 5 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 5 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 5 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 6 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 6 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 6 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 6 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 6 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 6 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 6 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 7 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 7 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 7 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 7 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 7 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 7 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 8 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 8 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 8 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
Keystone XL Is Far From Certain

Keystone XL Is Far From Certain

Today’s vote in favor of…

Europe’s Toxic Radiation Cloud Remains A Mystery

Europe’s Toxic Radiation Cloud Remains A Mystery

Last month’s mysterious radiation cloud…

Exxon Lawsuit - How $8.9 Billion Becomes $250 Million

Exxon Lawsuit - How $8.9 Billion Becomes $250 Million

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration’s assertion that it worked “aggressively” to ensure that Exxon Mobil Corp. reimbursed the state for environmental contamination isn’t changing any minds among the critics of the deal.

For more than a decade the state has been fighting for a court order that would have required Exxon to pay $8.9 billion for environmental repair and other damages related to the company’s oil refining and other activities in northern New Jersey. Instead, the Christie administration has agreed to settle on $225 million to resolve the state’s lawsuit.

Word of the settlement emerged on Feb. 27 as a New Jersey judge apparently was considering how much Exxon should have to pay. The deal generated a chorus of criticism and vows by state legislators to block the deal.

On March 5, the state’s acting attorney general, John Hoffman, and its environmental commissioner, Bob Martin, issued a statement saying their two offices had worked hard together to reach a settlement with Exxon, which they called “the single largest environmental settlement with a corporate defendant in New Jersey history.”

Related: This Is Why Warren Buffet Dumped His Exxon Holding

“[T]his administration aggressively pushed the case to trial [and] is the result of long-fought settlement negotiations that predated and postdated the trial,” the statement by Hoffman and Martin said.

Exxon said it would have no comment on the matter.

Despite the explanation from the state’s Republican administration, two prominent Democrats in the state legislature, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Raymond Lesniak, are preparing to file a motion in the Exxon suit to block the settlement. Lesniak has also filed a formal request with the court for all documents related to the settlement.

“We have to and we will get to the bottom of this case to determine how $8.9 billion shrunk down to $250 million,” Lesniak said in a statement. “We are going to dig deep and then we will dig deeper to find the truth.”

Sweeney and Lesniak are among Christie’s critics who say he the governor acted quickly to take advantage of a budget law allowing the governor to divert revenue from environmental settlements that exceed $50 million away from intended clean-ups to the state’s general fund.

Related: Judge Dismisses Suit Against Energy Companies Over Louisiana Erosion

The law expires June 30, and the critics say it forced Christie to act quickly by reducing the fines to the satisfaction of Exxon and use the proceeds to fill gaps in the state’s budget or even to finance subsidies meant to attract businesses to the state.

“Christie was trying to get this settlement in before [June 30] because [the state Legislature] won’t repeat it in the new budget,” Lesniak said.

Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has been the beneficiary of more than $1.9 million in donations from Exxon since Christie first ran for governor in 2009. Asked if the generous settlement amounts to a gift from Christie to Exxon, Lesniak told the International Business Times, “One can certainly see it that way.”

The state’s suit says Exxon damaged more than 1,500 acres of meadows, wetlands and marshes in the northern New Jersey communities of Bayonne and Linden, where Exxon operated multiple oil refineries for decades. Just two of these facilities, the Bayway and Bayonne sites, would cost $8.9 billion to restore, according to an expert hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News