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Exxon has reportedly reached an agreement with federal and state agencies to settle criminal charges over last year's half-million gallon spill in the waters between New Jersey and New York. The company was expected to plead guilty Wednesday in federal court in Newark to a federal misdemeanor. Rep. Susan Molinari (R) of New York said the settlement includes a $5 million fine and $10 million in civil penalties.

The leak in a pipeline connecting Exxon's Bayway Refinery in Linden to a Bayonne tank farm began on Jan. 1, 1990 and went undetected for hours. By the time the leak was discovered and the line shut down, 570,000 gallons of fuel oil had spilled into the Arthur Kill.

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Officials said the fine would be split between the federal government and the states of New York and New Jersey. The civil settlement involves the US Environmental Protection Agency, the two states, and the cities of New York and Elizabeth.

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