Major milestone achieved in grassroots campaign to permanently clean-up Ford’s toxic dump site at a New Jersey state park; NJ officially backs away from plans to transfer ownership of contaminated site to back to Ford
New Jersey officials issued a statement at a packed community hearing yesterday assuring residents that efforts by Ford to gain ownership over a section of a state park where the car company dumped toxic waste are off the table.
The state’s statement represents a major shift in the local effort to clean-up the contamination of Ringwood State Park, a campaign that has received national attention in recent weeks and was the subject of an HBO documentary that aired last month.
More than 200 people packed the Ringwood Library for the Environmental Protect Agency hearing on Ringwood site clean-up on Tuesday night. Members of the Ramapough tribe, a community severely affected by Ford’s toxic dumping, delivered nearly 70,000 petition signatures to both EPA and Ford representatives.
Edison Wetlands Association, the New Jersey group that has been leading the campaign to strengthen the clean-up effort for seven years, launched the petition on Change.org following rumors Ford was attempting to gain control over the site of Peter’s Mine, one of the most contaminated areas of Ringwood State Park, before the EPA had finalized plans to remove the toxic waste. The EPA is currently considering seven options for site clean-up, ranging from completely removing toxic material to the more controversial option of capping affected areas.
“The decision by the State of New Jersey to postpone indefinitely any transfer of land in Ringwood State Park to Ford Motor Company is testament to the nearly 70,000 Americans who took a stand through Change.org on behalf of the long-suffering Native Americans in Upper Ringwood,” said Edison Wetlands Association Executive Director Robert Spiegel.
“The fight for a clean Ringwood is far from over,” Spiegel continued. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be deciding soon whether to fully remove the toxic waste from the gaping mine pit next to the Ramapough Indians’ homes. Judging from the overwhelming public reaction, it is clear that full cleanup is the only real option. We urge all supporters to stay tuned to learn how you can help.”
“This is a classic David and Goliath story,” said Change.org Director of Organizing, Corinne Ball. “This small grassroots group, working alongside the local community, has been able to mobilize a mass amount of support with their online petition, moving a government agency and major corporation. What they have already achieved is tremendous. ”