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Historic Environmental Movements of Warwick

This guide presents material on the history of social movements and activism about Warwick's environment.

Summary of Vernon's Radioactive Dump Controversy

In 1986, the citizens of Warwick organized against the storage of barrels of radium contaminated soils being removed from Essex County, New Jersey to Vernon.  As historian Jennie Sweetman noted:

".....headlines were made in the Sussex County and Orange County, N.Y., areas when it was learned that New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Richard Dewling had ordered the transfer of 5,000 drums of radon-contaminated soils in Essex County to a 95-acre site in Vernon, where it was to be blended with soil to reduce its radioactivity to what Dewling perceived as a “safe” level.

The 95-acre site included 75 acres of farmland owned by members of the Rickey family, 20 acres owned by Robert Baldwin that was being used as a gravel quarry, as well as a 400-foot wide strip of the Appalachian Trail that crossed the property. The property was located at the intersection of Route 94 and Price’s Switch Road."  (New Jersey Herald July 31, 2016)

 

Vernon and Warwick organized activist groups that worked together to raise awareness of this impending environmental threat, and the plan was scrapped.

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DOCUMENTS:  Jed Bark ,Jonathan Talbot, and Greg Ludwig archives

WARD Fact Booklet 

WARD History, Jonathan Talbot 

The Radium Issue 

Radon Dump History by Greg Ludwig