[Marxism] What Ford did to the Ramapough Mountain Indians
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 18 14:21:27 MDT 2011
(Some idiot just wrote a defense of Ford under my review of “Mann
V. Ford” because it was “legal” to dump toxic waste in the 1960s
using Mafia haulers. This article that appeared in the Bergen
Record is an antidote to such garbage.)
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
October 2, 2005 Sunday
Ford, the feds, the mob: Making a wasteland
By JAN BARRY, MARY JO LAYTON, ALEX NUSSBAUM, TOM TRONCONE, LINDY
WASHBURN, BARBARA WILLIAMS and THOMAS E. FRANKLIN, Wire Services
A slab of bright blue lies beside a mountain stream above the
Wanaque Reservoir. It’s a sporty color, maybe the “Diamond Blue”
that Ford sprayed on Galaxies in the late 1960s. It hardened like
lava where it was dumped more than a generation ago.
When running high, the stream rinses over the slab and down the
mountain, through marshes and past beaver dams, toward the reservoir.
It’s everywhere, this paint.
Chunks of it jut from the driveway of a house in Ringwood where a
child got lead poisoning. It is so toxic he and his mom have moved
Piles of it, weathered and gray and wrinkled like an elephant’s
skin, cling to a hillside. Nearby is the home of a boy who died of
a rare tumor.
On the other side of the hill a spring-fed stream once ran clear
and fresh. For generations, it quenched the thirst of the
mountain’s residents, the Ramapoughs. Now the water is bright
orange and laced with cancer-causing benzene.
Just upstream from Mahwah, a ridge of waste paint longer than a
football field slowly leaches arsenic, lead and other heavy metals
into the Ramapo River.
It is in countless other places – in landfills, on farms, along
hiking trails in the woodlands that sweep across the northern edge
of New Jersey and form the region’s important watersheds.
The paint sludge is from the Ford Motor Co.’s factory in Mahwah,
once the largest auto assembly plant in the nation. Before closing
in 1980, the behemoth plant spat out 6 million vehicles and an
ocean of contaminants – including enough paint sludge to fill two
of the three tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel.
Millions of gallons of paint sludge was dumped in the remote
section of Ringwood that is home to the Ramapoughs. Their children
played in it. The streams washed over it. Early this summer, state
officials announced some cancer rates there are unusually high.
The Ramapoughs blame the sludge.
For the past eight months, The Record has been investigating
Ford’s toxic legacy. A team of journalists went house to house
documenting health complaints among the Ramapoughs. They hiked
through the mountains and found paint sludge that had been missed
by four government-supervised cleanups in Ringwood. They found
sludge near homes, in parks and in the watershed. Not far from the
site of Ford’s Mahwah plant, they discovered sludge that had been
tossed off the side of the road, even dumped near wells for public
Tests commissioned by the newspaper found lead, arsenic and
xylenes in the sludge – some at 100 times the levels the
government considers safe. The tests indicate the contamination is
The Record found that Ford repeatedly dumped in poor communities
and failed to clean up its mess. Documents reveal that Ford
executives knew as early as 34 years ago that its waste had
contaminated a stream that feeds the Wanaque Reservoir. They show
that the company tried to evade responsibility by presenting
tainted land as a “gift” to the state.
Organized crime played a key role in a vast assault on the
environment. An analysis of public records and interviews with
truckers who hauled Ford’s waste shows mob-controlled contractors
dumped anywhere they could get away with it. They bribed,
threatened, even murdered to maintain control of Ford’s trash.
Millions of gallons of hazardous waste vanished in their hands.
Today, officials say they simply don’t have the staff to search
for it all.
Government at all levels shares the blame. For years, it allowed
mobsters to turn New Jersey into a toxic dumping ground. Initial
attempts at statewide environmental regulation in the late 1970s
only made the situation worse.
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