NJ Wins Round In Exxon Mobil Lawsuit
February 19, 2009
New Jersey won a round in an environmental damages suit against energy giant Exxon Mobil, according to an announcement last week by state Attorney General Anne Milgram.
A Superior Court judge upheld the state's claims seeking damages from Exxon Mobil for harm to the environment and loss of natural resources allegedly caused by two of its refinery operations. The ruling came despite the feet that the discharges and other activities took place before New Jersey's Spill Act took effect in 1977.
The ruling, by Superior Court Judge Ross R. Anzaldi, found "the New Jersey Legislature's intention has been 'to expand, not contract' the ability of the Department of Environmental Protection to recover compensatory damages from polluters, and that Exxon Mobil's interpretation of the law would leave the public 'less than whole for its loss,'" Milgram said.
In September 2008, Anzaldi ruled Exxon Mobil is liable for causing a public nuisance by polluting the waterways, wetlands and marshes on and near its former refinery sites in Bayonne and Linden. The judge found Exxon Mobil contaminated both sites through active disposal and accidental spilling of hazardous substances, "causing great damage," Milgram said.
The amount of money owed by ExxonMo bil will be determined at trial, Milgram said.
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