$3 MILLION TO SETTLE NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGES FOR GROUND AND SURFACE
(05/50) BAYONNE-- New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today finalized
a $3 million settlement with International Matex Tank Terminals
(IMTT) as compensation to the state for injuries to natural resources
at the company's Bayonne complex. The settlement will fund recreation
and water quality improvement projects within the same watershed
as the IMTT site.
"The Bayonne community will benefit from recreation and
water quality projects agreed to under this settlement,"
said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "We continue our efforts
to work with cooperative parties to settle natural resource damage
As part of the overall settlement, IMTT agreed to fund improvements
to the Bayonne Passive Waterfront Park, or North Forty Park, where
wetland restoration, observation decks, bike trails and other
amenities along the Newark Bay will be constructed. The North
Forty Park is located adjacent to the Stephen R. Gregg Bayonne
Park, a county facility.
A second project funded through the settlement involves creating
public access points along the Kill Van Kull that includes an
observation deck, canoe and kayak launch ramp and signage.
Additional measures to address combined sewer overflows or storm
water concerns also will be funded with the balance of funds from
the settlement. The design and implementation of the latter two
projects will be performed under a cooperative agreement among
the City of Bayonne, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper and DEP.
"IMTT stepped forward to compensate the state for injuries
that occurred before their acquisition of the property and continues
to clean up at its facilities contamination stemming from prior
owners," said Commissioner Campbell. "It's a good day
for Bayonne residents who will gain better access to Newark Bay
and the Kill Van Kull and see improved water quality along its
The agreement with IMTT resolves the company's natural resource
damage liability in connection with ground and surface water contamination
at its industrial site. This settlement in no way releases any
other parties from NRD liability associated with the site. The
IMTT site is located in a historically industrial area on the
eastside of Bayonne. The site is primarily used as a bulk liquid
storage and transshipment services terminal for fuel and petrochemicals.
IMTT began its operations more than 20 years ago in 1983 at the
Bayonne Industries Terminal and since then has acquired a number
of other properties at this location, which make up most of the
Bayonne Constable Hook area. In addition to the Bayonne Industries
Terminal operations, IMTT acquired the former Exxon Bayonne plant,
Constable Terminal, Powell Duffryn Terminals, and most recently
"It is very appropriate that the money is being spent in
the host community, because our residents are the ones who have
been impacted by the problems, and they will benefit directly
from this funding, said Mayor and Senator Joseph V. Doria, Jr.
"I would like to commend Commissioner Brad Campbell and the
Coleman family of IMTT for their willingness to work together
to pursue a solution to this issue."
IMTT purchased the 288-acre Exxon Bayonne site in April 1993
that is now part of its overall complex. The state has a pending
lawsuit against ExxonMobil for natural resource damages resulting
from its operations. Under DEP oversight, ExxonMobil remains obligated
to clean up contamination at its former Bayonne facility.
"IMTT recognizes the importance of collaboration with the
state of New Jersey in addressing historic damages to the environment
and feels the subsequent settlement will benefit both current
and future generations of Bayonne residents," said James
J. Coleman Jr., IMTT Chairman of the Board.
Portions of the IMTT complex separate from the former Exxon site
are contaminated with petroleum products from more than 100 years
of petrochemical operations. In these areas, IMTT will conduct
immediate remedial measures for areas of free and residual product,
particularly in areas with migration pathways to sensitive waterways.
A permanent cleanup plan will be implemented following completion
of the interim measures.
"This modest but important natural resource damage settlement
with IMTT will send a message that polluters, not the public,
should pay to return our commonly held public trust resources
to the condition they were before they were polluted, and to compensate
the public - the owners and beneficiaries of the natural resources
of the Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill, and Newark Bay - for the lost
use of these waterways," said Baykeeper Andrew Willner. "We
look forward to working with the Department and Bayonne in implementing
these important projects."
Natural resource damage program background
DEP and the Attorney General's Office have collected $29.4 million
in settlements for natural resource damages since 2002 involving
267 cases. The state is working with 94 additional parties representing
about 850 sites that seek to voluntarily resolve their liability
for natural resource damages.
DEP uses money from natural resource damage settlements from
contaminated sites and oil spills for restoration projects and
land purchases in the same watershed or general area of where
the injuries occurred. Examples of restoration include wetland
creation/enhancement, non-point pollution control projects, purchase
of aquifer recharge areas, research for restoration of endangered
species, and public education projects.
DEP assesses natural resource damages to compensate the residents
of New Jersey for injuries to natural resources that are held
in the public trust. Injuries can include both ecological injuries
such as damage to wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface
water as well as public use injuries such as the closure of a
waterway to fishing, a beach to swimming or an aquifer to use
as a drinking water supply. New Jersey's Spill Compensation and
Control Act holds any entity that has discharged hazardous substances
onto the land or into the waters of the state liable for cleanup
and removal costs, as well as the cost of restoring or replacing
natural resources injured by the discharge.