Exxon defends $225M pollution deal with New Jersey, says $8.9B state sought 'not real'

Exxon's top lawyer says a heavily criticized $225 million pollution settlement with the state of New Jersey was reasonable and allowed both sides to move forward.

Jack Balagia (buh-LAHJ'-ee-yah) also told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the $8.9 billion the state initially sought was "not a real number" because it was the result of a flawed calculation and based on a statute that hasn't been used successfully in court.

Continue Reading Below

The settlement announced in March has drawn criticism from lawmakers in both parties who've said the state should have waited for a judge's ruling instead of settling for pennies on the dollar.

Exxon's attorney pointed out that the damage costs are separate from cleanup costs, and that Exxon has spent $260 million to clean up the sites since the 1990s.