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Exxon Settlement Falls Short Of Damage, N.J. Democrats Say

NPR's All Things Considered

March 19, 2015

"Lawmakers in New Jersey heard testimony today about one of the biggest environmental cases in that state's history.

ExxonMobil recently agreed to pay $225 million in damages for contamination at two oil refineries. Gov. Chris Christie called it a 'good deal.' But environmentalists complain the state is getting pennies on the dollar compared to the billions it was seeking in court.

The proposed settlement still requires approval by a state judge, and the public will have a chance to comment once the details are released — probably in the next few weeks.

Environmental lawyer Andrew Robins of the firm Sills Cummis & Gross, says it's not surprising that the state might want to settle.

'In a case like the Exxon case, with natural resource damages, it's reasonable to anticipate that if there were an extreme judgment one way or the other ... this would be wrapped up in appeals for a very long time,' he says."