We “donated” (unloaded) contaminated land without telling the new owners it was contaminated. Why would anyone ever trust Ford?
New Jersey officials sued Ford Motor Co. on Thursday, alleging that the automaker contaminated the ancestral homeland of a Native American tribe by dumping paint sludge and other pollutants into a former mine.
The action in state court seeks unspecified damages to restore the land, and to compensate the state and local communities for losses they sustained when natural resources were damaged.
The suit accuses Ford of dumping contaminants at the former Ringwood Mine site, a 500-acre site that encompasses the homelands of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, a tribe formally recognized by the state.
The state’s lawsuit alleges that Ford purchased Ringwood Mines in 1965 to use it as a landfill where it could dispose of hazardous waste generated by its auto assembly plant in Mahwah, which was one of the largest auto assembly plants in the U.S.
Between 1967 and 1974, the lawsuit asserts, Ford disposed thousands of tons of toxic paint sludge in the forests and on the grounds within the Ringwood Mine, as well as in its abandoned mineshafts and pits. Multiple other pollutants were dumped there as well, the state said.
Subsequently, Ford either donated or sold all of its contaminated Ringwood Mines properties while fully aware of — but without disclosing — that those properties were contaminated with hazardous and toxic wastes, according to the lawsuit.