New Jersey last year filed a new lawsuit in state court against Ford Motor Company, alleging that the company dumped thousands of tons of toxic waste in a Native American community in the 1960s and 1970s.
Seeking full environmental restoration of the area, as well as damages for the harm that has been caused to the community, the lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal challenges facing Ford over its environmental record.
the case shows there is more court action than cleanup as a result of the laws crafted in response to corporate pollution over the past 40 years.
In 2019, the company agreed to pay $10.1 billion to settle a lawsuit over its role in the Flint water crisis.
Roughly 600 Upper Ringwood residents previously sued Ford for the health impacts to the community. That case, which was documented in the HBO documentary Mann v. Ford, was settled out of court in 2009, with the residents splitting roughly $10 million.
The Upper Ringwood area, which is home to the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, remains contaminated with a variety of toxic chemicals, including lead, arsenic, and mercury.
The pollution has caused a number of health problems for residents, including cancer, respiratory problems, and birth defects.
The lawsuit alleges that Ford knew about the dangers of the pollution, but chose to dump the waste anyway. The company is also accused of failing to clean up the site properly.
The lawsuit is a reminder of the toxic legacy of corporate greed and exploitation. For decades, corporations have dumped hazardous waste in poor and minority communities, with little regard for the health and safety of the residents who live there. The result has been a devastating toll on human health and the environment.
The New Jersey lawsuit is a step in the right direction, but it is just one of many that will be needed to hold corporations accountable for their actions. We need to pass stronger laws to protect our communities from toxic pollution, and we need to make sure that those who pollute are held fully accountable for the damage they cause.
The lawsuit is also a reminder of the importance of effective government. If the government had been more effective in regulating corporations and protecting the environment, the pollution in Upper Ringwood might never have happened.
We need to elect leaders who will fight for environmental justice and hold corporations accountable for their actions. We need to demand that our government do more to protect our communities from toxic pollution.
The people of Upper Ringwood have suffered for decades because of the toxic pollution that Ford dumped in their community. It is time for Ford to be held accountable for the damage it has caused. It is also time for our government to do more to protect our communities from toxic pollution.
New Jersey Environmental Commissioner Lisa Jackson, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—then one of the lawyers representing residents and today a Democratic presidential candidate—toured Ford Motor Company’s toxic waste dump in Passaic County, in March 2008 and accused the carmaker of criminal activity in dumping thousands of tons of waste and then taking decades on a cleanup that remains incomplete.
The toxic legacy of corporate greed is compounded by the exploitation of a government that sometimes seems incapable of effective action.