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Lorain close to deal on beryllium
By TOM GERMUSKA, JR., Morning Journal City Editor May 02, 2000
LORAIN -- Law Director Mark Provenza has negotiated an agreement with the world's largest producer and manufacturer of beryllium products that would guarantee the potentially harmful metal is never used at the company's Lorain facility.
The proposed deal between the city and Brush Wellman Inc. has been sent to a City Council committee for discussion Monday. The meeting was originally called to discuss an ordinance that would ban the use of beryllium anywhere in Lorain, but Councilwoman Kathy Tavenner, D-at-large, said the new agreement with Brush Wellman will be the featured topic of discussion.

''I would feel better with the ban, but I've received little support in the past 14 months,'' Tavenner said. ''I'm willing to bend. The main goal will still be accomplished, and the city will be safer.''

The proposed agreement includes the promise from Brush Wellman that the company will never ''produce, store or manufacture beryllium or beryllium compounds which result in or cause respirable beryllium fumes, dusts or powder within the corporate limits'' of Lorain.

The Brush Wellman plant in Lorain manufactures bronze materials, but the company has previously refused to promise beryllium would not be used at some point in the future in Lorain.

The proposed agreement provides that guarantee, but does not set any type of citywide precedent banning the metal. Such legislation could be copied by other cities and cause potential problems for Brush Wellman elsewhere.

Tavenner has led the charge to ban the use of beryllium in Lorain for more than a year. She started her campaign after information after learning about diseases related to beryllium fumes and dust.

Provenza said he finished discussions with attorneys for Brush Wellman yesterday, and they are comfortable with the agreement. Brush Wellman officials were not available for comment last night.

''This accomplishes what we were asked to address,'' Provenza said. ''But it won't do anything to finished beryllium products like golf clubs or items at every hospital.

©The Morning Journal 2000
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