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Memo to Lorain City Council:
Response to Plain Dealer article on Brush Wellman

May 4, 2000

TO: Members of Lorain City Council
CC: Mayor Craig Foltin; George Koury, Assistant Law Director

FR: Amy Ryder, Cleveland Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action

I am writing in response to today’s Plain Dealer article about the proposed agreement between Brush Wellman and the City of Lorain about stopping the production, manufacturing and storage of beryllium in Lorain.

As you know, Ohio Citizen Action is campaigning across Ohio to reduce the health and safety risks associated with producing and manufacturing beryllium. One of the ways to reduce these risks is to prevent Brush Wellman from processing beryllium in a facility which is currently beryllium-free.

We have canvassed on this issue door-to-door in Lorain. Over 800 citizens signed petitions in support of keeping Lorain beryllium-free. In addition, over 400 citizens wrote letters to James Feldhouse, Brush Wellman plant manager in Lorain, asking him to commit to keeping his facility beryllium free.

There is clearly a consensus among community leaders and residents that nobody wants history to repeat itself by allowing this deadly metal back into Lorain. The debate has been how best to do it.

Councilwoman Tavenner proposed a solution—declare beryllium a nuisance and pass a ban. Over 150 Lorain residents showed up to a public hearing to show their support for keeping Lorain beryllium-free in response to this proposal.

Last week, Brush Wellman offered a different yet just as effective solution—a legally binding agreement. Brush Wellman agrees that they will not now nor in the future manufacture, produce, or store beryllium in the city. In consideration for this agreement, the City will agree to not pass the ban.

In this morning's article, there were suspicions raised by a Toledo attorney and a Cincinnati attorney as to why Brush agreed to this voluntary action. The reasoning behind their decision is irrelevant. Should council accept this contract, all sides win. Both the citizens of Lorain and Brush Wellman are assured by this agreement that the public and the workers will be protected from the hazards associated with beryllium plants.

I urge you to vote in support of this agreement as it achieves the goal we are all pursuing —- protecting public health and safety from beryllium exposure.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (216) 861-5200 (w) or (216) 227-0264 (h).