Friday, March 6, 2015

New York Times Questions Sweetheart Wetlands Deal in New Jersey

Photo by Gage Skidmore.  Click for credit.
The New York Times editorial pages came out swinging on the situation in New Jersey that I wrote about last week.  Check out the editorial here and check out my take on the situation here.

It appears as if the Governor of New Jersey gave a sweetheart deal to Exxon in a wetlands lawsuit just as a judge was going to decide on the case.  The judge could have granted up to 9 billion dollars in damages to cover the cost of pollution clean up and mitigation of wetlands on the New Jersey coastline.  Instead, the Governor intervened and settled the case for 250 million--a very low settlement that won't cover the cost of the cleanup to the taxpayers.  The settlement leaves taxpayers with potentially billions lost.

In some situations, it is wise to settle lawsuits for less money than the true damages due to the costs of attorneys etc.  However, this case was at the final point.  The judge was expected to rule on damages within days.  From a public policy standpoint, the case doesn't make any sense.  I don't see any benefit to the taxpayers of the state.  It would be as if I was about to get a raise but told my boss to cut my salary instead.  To paraphrase Spock, it is not logical.

I agree with the Times.  The Governor has some explaining to do.

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