- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A leading Democratic state senator and budget official says he is planning to unveil legislation to ensure environmental settlements are used to clean up pollution and contamination.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo said Thursday he and state Senate President Steve Sweeney will introduce legislation requiring that half of lump sum environmental settlements go to clean up sites while the rest go into the general fund.

The decision comes after acting Attorney General John Hoffman introduced a $225 million settlement between New Jersey and Exxon Mobil over the contamination of petroleum refineries in Linden and Bayonne.

The state had sought $8.9 billion in damages from Exxon and Democrats have harshly criticized Gov. Chris Christie’s administration over what they said is a bad deal.

The settlement doesn’t include costs that Exxon will pay to clean the sites.

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