Michael Hill reports for NJTV News
Ramapough Indian Vivian Milligan is compiling the obituaries. “We’ve lost a lot of people. It took quite a while to realize something was not right,” she said.
She’s keeping track of the tribe members in Ringwood who’ve died of cancer and other illnesses,
For years, the now-closed Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Mahwah dumped hundreds of thousands of tons of paint sludge in two, deep Ringwood mines and contaminated the soil and water.
When asked if there is any doubt the contamination led to the deaths, Milligan said, “No.”
Ford was ordered and did some cleanup in the ’90s and the EPA decided Ford had done enough and the risk had been contained. But, a few years later, in 2005, testing showed that assessment was wrong and the area went back on the Superfund list.
Residents say the government betrayed them then and still is by not informing them of test results, giving erroneous results and as late as this week, being told the government’s method of testing for the potential cancer-causing chemical — 1,4-Dioxane — was obsolete.
Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker wrote to the EPA urging it to do a much better job of keeping citizens in Ringwood informed and in a timely way. The EPA replied, “We will do that.” The EPA said it agrees that “… full transparency and proactive, timely updates … [are] critically important to … restoring public confidence…”
Read the full story here
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