|It's a deal Beryllium to stay out of
|MORGAN LEWIS JR.,
Morning Journal Writer
|LORAIN -- City Council
in Lorain last night approved the long-awaited agreement with Brush
Wellman Inc. that will forbid that company from ever bringing the
potentially harmful metal beryllium into the
|Lorain City Councilwoman Kathy Tavenner, D-at-large, said she
will make sure the agreement is signed by Brush Wellman officials.
Tavenner has headed the campaign to keep beryllium out of the city
for the last 14 months. |
''The only thing left to do is to
get them to sign it,'' Tavenner said. ''That's a very important
Councilwoman Anne Molnar, D-at-large, cast the
only vote against the agreement, which she called, ''bogus.''
During World War II, the federal government ordered the
increased production of beryllium which was used in the production
of bombs and missiles, Molnar said.
''God forbid, if there
is ever an out-and-out war again we'll have no control over the
production of beryllium,'' Molnar said. ''The government will be
able to bring it in if they want to.''
In the pact, the city
agrees to halt meetings to discuss an outright ban of beryllium
within city limits. Discussion of a ban could be resumed if city
officials believe there is a threat that the company plans to break
the agreement or if a different company tries to produce beryllium
The pact is only between Lorain and Brush
Wellman, but will also apply if the company merges with another firm
or is purchased.
Brush Wellman officials did not attend last
night's City Council meeting and were unavailable for comment last
Brush Wellman has a plant on Baumhart Road, where
brush engineered bronze, a non-beryllium product, is produced.
However, Brush Wellman is the world's largest producer of beryllium.
The agreement is a shift from the previous stance Brush
Wellman officials have taken since a ban was first discussed 14
months ago. Company officials maintained that they do not expect the
dangerous metal to be used in Lorain, but they would not rule out
that beryllium will never be used in the future.
the beryllium metal dust is believed to cause a deadly lung disease,
called chronic beryllium disease. Brush Wellman has a beryllium
plant in Elmore, near Toledo, where there have been several reported
cases of chronic beryllium disease.
Several Lorain area
residents said at previous city meetings that members of their
families became sick after working at a Lorain beryllium plant on
First Street in the late 1930s and 1940s. The Lorain plant, owned by
Brush Wellman – then called Brush Beryllium – burned down in 1948.
Brush Wellman's current 50,000-square-foot, $12 million
Lorain plant opened in November 1997.
Beryllium has been
produced for the nation's military since the 1940s and is used in
missiles, bombs and jet fighters. Today it is also used in high-tech
items such as computers, cellular telephones and ignition control
systems, according to the company.
In July 1996, Lorain City
Council approved a 10-year, 60 percent abatement of real estate and
personal property taxes for the new Lorain Brush Wellman plant.
Morning Journal 2000|