Tag Archive: David Pringle

Judge rules in favor of Exxon and the State

Superior Court Judge Hogan (retired) ruled today, “The court finds that the proposed consent judgment is fair, reasonable, in the public interest, and consistent with the goals of the Spill Compensation and Control Act (“Spill Act”). It therefore approves the Consent Judgment.”

The judge begins his written opinion stating, “Nearly any consent decree can be viewed simultaneously as ‘a crackdown’ or ‘a sellout.'” Environmentalists today say the Exxon and NJDEP settlement for $225 million of natural resource damages estimating more than $9 billion is a sellout. “We believe this settlement is wrong and violates the Spill Act and the Public Trust Doctrine and sells out Natural Resource Damages.” The groups plan to appeal the decision to the Appellate Court. 

“The Judge has rubberstamped the biggest corporate subsidy in state history,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“Exxon’s massive damage to New Jersey’s environment couldn’t have been more clear. Today’s decision by the Court sadly rubberstamps the Christie Administration’s sell-out settlement. This settlement still stinks,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.”

 

“Our Delaware River has been done a great disservice by this settlement. That the Court would sign off on this sell out by the Christie Administration without even giving us our fair day in Court is a travesty,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. 

 

“If this seal of approval of the dirty deal between Governor Christie and Exxon Mobil is not overturned, it not only codifies it’s OK to destroy the environment and rip-off taxpayers, but provides a road map to encourage it,” said David Pringle, NJ Campaign Director, Clean Water Action.

What Will Christie Do?

No doubt, being governor of New Jersey is a difficult job. You have to constantly make decisions which are bound to please one constituency while angering another. Such a decision needs to be made by Chris Christie before Monday.

An overwhelming majority in both houses passed Senate Bill S253. The bill bans the “treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of wastewater … from natural gas exploration or production using hydraulic fracking.”

New Jersey leads the nation in the number of Superfund cleanup sites. The last thing we need is more pollutants, especially from other states, to exacerbate our continuing quest for a clean environment.

Today, a number of environmental groups, along with two clean environment advocates in the Senate, held a press conference to urge the Governor to sign the bill. Will Christie veto or conditionally veto the bill during the weekend news lull? Will he allow these pollutants in the state to please his Koch Brothers benefactors? Or will he do the right thing for the people of New Jersey and sign the bill?

Just like nuclear and traditional fossil fuels have hidden costs which need to be factored into the cost-benefit analysis, fracking also comes with covert but very real costs, to be borne by the consumer. At the press conference, Environment New Jersey issued a detailed report which describes these hidden costs. The report is available at this link.

According to Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club,


“The fracking process creates millions of gallons of wastewater and solids for every new well drilled and each well can be fracked multiple times.  Fracking waste contains over 700 hundred chemicals, many of them known carcinogens.  Long term exposure to these toxins can cause nervous system, kidney, or liver damage.  The gas industry is not required to disclose all the chemicals used in the process, and with these unknown additives it is impossible to know the full threat fracking waste presents.”

Prior to the news conference, I spoke with a co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Bob Gordon. Video of the entire press conference is below the fold.