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Less than 25% of NJ’s ExxonMobil settlement to go to the DEP

Of the $225 million settlement collected from ExxonMobil for polluted sites in the state, New Jersey Governor Murphy plans to use $125 million to supplement the state budget; of the remaining money, $50 million will be used to satisfy attorneys’ fees and only the remaining $50 million will be used to fund the actual cleanup costs of the polluted sites. This move is especially controversial because the $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil is a fraction of the $8.9 billion originally sought by the state; specifically, $8.9 billion was what the state estimated was needed to clean up the Exxon-owned polluted NJ sites. Moreover, last November, NJ voters passed a state constitutional amendment which requires “funds from this type of settlement only be used for environmental cleanup.” However, because the Exxon settlement was reached years before the constitutional amendment was passed (the settlement payout has been tied up until recently due to appeals), the state’s position is that the amendment does not apply to this particular settlement.

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