Senator Oroho’s (R-24) bill barring the state pension system from investing in companies that evade their Superfund obligations has passed the Senate.
View of the Passaic River from the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in Newark, NJ. (Flickr)
“Corporations that knowingly dodge their Superfund obligations need to be held accountable and should not benefit from the investment of State pension funds,” said Oroho. “This legislation will send the message that companies will not be rewarded for attempting to scheme their way out of fulfilling environmental cleanup obligations by shifting their responsibility to New Jersey taxpayers.”
Oroho’s bipartisan bill, S-1208, prohibits the investment of pension and annuity funds by New Jersey in entities that avoid their Superfund obligations to State.
A profitable Argentinian state-owned oil company, YPF S.A., has attempted to discharge Superfund cleanup obligations for the Diamond Alkali Superfund site in Newark through the federal bankruptcy proceedings of a subsidiary, the Maxus Energy Corporation, formerly known as the Diamond Alkali Company.
The subsidiary declared bankruptcy after the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a $1.38 billion remediation of the Superfund site and contaminated sediments in the lower 8.3 miles of the Passaic River.
Oroho’s bill aims to make entities aware that avoiding their superfund obligations will come with real consequences.
“We shouldn’t set the precedent that companies that have profited by polluting for decades can suddenly wipe their hands of responsibility through a corporate shell game when their bill comes due,” Oroho concluded.
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