Tag Archive: Jeff Tittel

It’s Not What You Think

BY DECIMINYAN At today’s rally against the PennEast pipeline, New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel delivered impassioned remarks on why the pipeline should be rejected. And as he put it, “it’s not what you think.” It’s not about a…
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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.

Proposed Exxon Mobil settlement update

Where we are today in terms of the Department of Environmental Protection and ExxonMobil settlement should come as no surprise. Gov. Christie in 2010 appointed Bob Martin as the DEP Commissioner. Martin’s background was consulting with large utility and energy companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Europe. He served on Christie’s transition team as chair of the energy and utilities group. Gov. Christie in his infinite wisdom felt it made perfect sense to appoint an energy expert as his environmental commissioner. Even Martin was surprised after his appointment as he said he had expect to land an energy post.

Burlington County Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan originally scheduled oral arguments for today, but rescheduled them for Thursday, July 30. Environmental groups which oppose the settlement had to petition the court and submit their amici briefs by yesterday. The responses from NJ DEP and Exxon, which are now in cahoots with each other, are due Friday, July 24.

The Sierra Club announced yesterday it has “petitioned to file an amicus brief along with other environmental groups. We will show that the environment is being shortchanged and that the DEP does not represent the people of New Jersey. We want to be a friend to the court because the DEP has proven to only be a friend to Exxon,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

So Gov. Christie early on signaled that energy company concerns trump environmental concerns. Exxon in particular reciprocated with donations that greased the settlement. Christie’s recent Chief Legal Counsel Chris Porrino and Bob Martin achieved a deal which Christie considers to be “historic” and “exemplary,” but which others view as the greatest boondoggle since the ARC tunnel. We have yet to find out what Judge Hogan, called out of retirement to handle the case, will rule.