Contaminated Soil On Ramapough Land Pits NJ Against NY - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Contaminated Soil On Ramapough Land Pits NJ Against NY

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Ringwood, New Jersey (My9NJ) - The Ramapough Lenape Indians of Ringwood, New Jersey are beyond frustrated over the lack of support from New Jersey’s government, in particular Governor Chris Christie, in their fight to clean up a 500-acre superfund site contaminated by Ford Motor Company in the 1960’s and ‘70's.

Now, it seems New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo have negotiated a better deal. Ford is to remove almost all of the toxic paint sludge that was dumped on the New York side of the border, but it’s a different story on the New Jersey side.

Chief Mann of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation says that he questions Christie’s quick response to the Fenimore Landfill toxic fumes situation in Roxbury, New Jersey in addition to the continuous delays in Ringwood.

“Fenimore landfill, while that is something that has to be addressed, in six-days they pass a bill into a law, and in two-hours of him signing that the state police are there to secure the landfill. We’ve been dealing with this for 50 years. Enough is enough; ya know a genocidal machine that just keeps going. It’s a slow crunch and it’s killing us all,” he said.

Ford will spend $7.5 million on a second major cleanup to dig up and haul away paint sludge in Ramapo, New York and Chief Mann wants the same deal for his Ringwood community. Instead Ringwood is considering a plan that would remove far less of the contaminated soil and possibly cap the site and move a recycling plant onto it. Ringwood shares responsibility for the contaminated soil because the town allowed Ford to dump the paint sludge on their land in the first place.

“The difference is that we’re living on and in it. And for me, quite honestly I think that it’s a form of racism. Ya know, if where we are here was over there, they sure enough would probably be cleaning it all up,” Chief Mann said.

As kids, members of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation that lived on the land would actually pick apples and berries grown in the contaminated soil and even paint their faces with the paint sludge, unaware of the dangers.

In 1956, DuPont who made the paint, allegedly told Ford that it contained lead and was toxic, yet the company continued to dump on this land.

The town of Ringwood said that it will cost $32.6 million to excavate the site and remove all of the paint sludge and $5.4 million to cap the site and move the recycling plant on top.

Ford responded to a request for comment saying: “The final remediation approach for each of these sites will be based on a thorough review of site-specific conditions.”

Hopefully by the end of the month Ford will have another review and come up with another plan for cleanup on the New Jersey side.


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