Special to the Independent
Amid pressure from a Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) lawsuit, ExxonMobil has ceased operations at its Everett tank farm and is selling the site to a developer. CLF filed a lawsuit in 2016 arguing Exxon’s site has been polluting surrounding waters for years. It is also woefully unprepared for climate risks and threatens to spill oil into nearby communities and the Mystic River in the event of severe weather.
“Exxon giving up on the Everett site is a major win,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “But this sale will not allow the company to escape responsibility for its toxic legacy of contamination and the ongoing pollution that will continue while the sale is pending. Our case continues and we will not allow the company to skip town and leave the community at risk.”
The Everett site contains contaminated soil and groundwater and it will continue to be a serious threat to the community and the environment until Exxon or the purchaser takes responsibility to fortify it, according to CLF. Redevelopment would only be appropriate if it is fully and properly prepared to withstand climate impacts and severe weather and a massive cleanup is undertaken to fix these serious issues.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria offered the following statement about the news developments concerning the site.
“Everett residents finally have the chance to realize the benefits of the types of economic development opportunities they deserve with the redevelopment of the ExxonMobil, 95-acre parcel and the Constellation Energy generating sites. I have always known the potential that Everett has to evolve from its industrial age commercial uses because we have the acreage that is no longer found in surrounding communities. What our residents deserve is for our federal and state leaders to use the generational federal funding dollars available to the Commonwealth to capitalize on these opportunities for smart, transit-oriented development opportunities supported by the expansion of the Silver Line, an infill station along the commuter rail line, expansion of bus rapid transit lanes, and the electrification of the commuter rail that will support Everett and the entire North Shore corridor. It’s about time that everyone else sees Everett for the endless possibilities that we are able to offer to create higher-paying, cleaner, 21st century high-tech job opportunities with the right public infrastructure investments and private development vision.”
CLF said it will continue to hold ExxonMobil accountable in court for its unlawful conduct and will be involved in the redevelopment process to make sure that community voices are heard.