Monday, June 29, 2015

NJ Senate: Hands off enviro cleanup, restoration payments

Morses Creek, turned into a lagoon for waste products at Bayway Refinery in Linden, NJ (Stephen Nesssen - WNYC)
"After repeated vetoes by Gov. Chris Christie, the state Senate on Monday passed a constitutional amendment to require that settlement money from polluters be spent almost exclusively on restoring the environment," Christopher Baxter reports for

The measure (SCR163) would dedicate money received from lawsuits against polluters solely "to repair damage to, restore, or permanently protect the state's natural resources," with the exception of up to 5 percent for administrative costs.

Democrats want the change in response to the Christie administration's proposed $225 million settlement in a long-running case against Exxon, a deal they say sells the state short in a battle that had estimated damages as high as $9 billion.

The measure passed 27-12, which is more than the three-fifths needed to put it on the ballot in November. The Assembly must pass it by the same margin by August to seek voter approval this year. Otherwise, it would probably be next year.

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