- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A Democratic state senator is petitioning state Superior Court to intervene in the Christie administration’s proposed settlement with ExxonMobil.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak filed the motion Friday with the aim of blocking a $225 million settlement between the state Department of Environmental Protection and the petroleum company over pollution claims. The case involves petroleum facilities in Bayonne and Linden - known as Bayway - and 16 other facilities as well as all the company’s retail gasoline stations.

“Long after the Governor has left office, the people of Bayway and the surrounding areas would have to live with the consequences of this sellout,” Lesniak said in a statement.

Lesniak says the state is settling for pennies on the dollar. The Christie administration has said the proposal is among the largest in state history and continuing to seek $8.9 billion indicated in court filings could have resulted in years of appeals.

Earlier this month a group of environmental organizations also filed to intervene in the case, calling the proposal a bad deal for New Jersey. In particular, the groups cite the inclusion of 16 additional facilities beyond the Bayonne and Linden plants as well as the retail stations as a driver of their opposition.

Oral arguments for the interventions are set for July 10.

Judge Michael Hogan is expected to hear arguments over the proposed settlement later in July.

Hogan was about to make a ruling on the settlement earlier this year when the state and ExxonMobil announced the settlement, which immediately touched off a wave of opposition from Democrats.

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