Picco discusses New Jersey’s decision to settle pollution suit against ExxonMobil
Steven Picco, Chair of the firm’s Energy, Environment and Utilities practice, commented in Law360 about New Jersey’s decision to settle an $8.9 billion suit against ExxonMobil Corp. over refinery pollution. He talked about the difficulty in quantifying the damage to the environment and loss of natural resources, and the risk of moving forward with the case.
“They can talk about wetlands impact and all the rest, but you have to quantify it, and if you can't quantify it, it's a crapshoot, and if you have a crapshoot with these kinds of stakes, both sides are going to try to get out of it because they won't want to run the risk either way,” Steven said. He also pointed out that although the settlement amount is surprising, the state has long had a problem with establishing a credible formula for placing a value on the destruction and loss of natural resources, which has sunk other cases and may have been a serious consideration for the administration in the present dispute.
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