Company agrees to beryllium ban
LORAIN -- Brush
Wellman Inc. officials reached a tentative agreement with city
officials Monday to voluntarily ban the production of beryllium in
City Council ultimately would have to
approve the final agreement and referred the matter to its Streets
and Utilities Committee, which will meet at 6 p.m. next
The agreement comes several months
after Councilwoman Kathy Tavenner, D-at large, proposed an ordinance
forbidding the production of beryllium in the city.
Beryllium has been known to cause
chronic and fatal lung disease known as berylliosis if its dust is
inhaled during the manufacturing process.
The company currently does not make
beryllium at its plant in the Lorain Industrial Park, but Tavenner
said she had feared that the company might start.
She said Monday that she is
optimistic about the company's willingness to sign an
"A written agreement with the company
is what we've wanted from the beginning," Tavenner said. "It's a
good faith agreement, and that's what we want."
Tavenner, however, said she plans to
make an amendment to the proposed ordinance and discuss it at the
"If the company were to ever sell the
plant in Lorain, I want it in the agreement that beryllium cannot be
manufactured by whoever might take over the plant," she
The plant is located on the city's
west side off Baumhart Road.
B.J. Fisher, a spokesman for Brush
Wellman, said Monday that the company would not comment about the
agreement until Council decides whether to approve it.
In February, the Ohio Citizen Action
Committee joined Tavenner in her battle to ban the production of
Amy Ryder, director of the
committee's Cleveland office, was jubilant over the proposed
"The agreement is a great victory,"
Ryder said. "The consensus all along was that the public did not
want to see beryllium produced here. I think putting on public
During the last two months, the group
canvassed neighborhoods and turned in nearly 1,300 postcards to City
Hall with signatures of residents who opposed the production of
beryllium within city limits.
Councilwoman Lori Kokoski, D-8th
Ward, whose ward includes the Brush Wellman plant, said the
agreement would be a "win-win" situation for everyone.
Kokoski had made a motion in February
to send the proposed ordinance banning beryllium back to committee
for further review. Tavenner was absent at that Council
"They could've taken us to court, and
we could've lost," Kokoski said. "The issue needed to be reviewed
further. I don't think Brush Wellman would've been willing to sign
the agreement without the controversy so the controversy was