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Clean air group to meet Strickland

By Kevin Pierson

Outreach to public officials by the Neighbors For Clean Air is beginning to show results as the group has arranged a tentative meeting with Congressman Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, and an Ohio gubernatorial candidate, Saturday.

A time and location for the meeting to discuss the group’s good neighbor campaign with Eramet, Marietta, is expected to be confirmed today, said Neighbors For Clean Air member Caroline Beidler, of Pinehurst.

Beidler previously met with representatives from Strickland’s office last month.

After the meeting Strickland’s office attempted to arrange a face to face meeting between Eramet officials and the clean air group, Beidler said.

“The fact that Congressman Strickland is willing to intervene is hopeful for us,” Beidler said. “It gives us hope we can get together and talk like neighbors.”

Shortly after the release of a citizen audit by the group June 1 Eramet officials said they do not plan to meet with them because the company feels the group is spreading misinformation about the organization.

Mike Jacoby, executive director of the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority, has also been trying to arrange a meeting between the two parties so the lack of cooperation from the company is frustrating, especially since the group would like to correct any misinformation it has gathered, Beidler said.

“We need to meet so they can tell us what is misinformation. That’s why we need to sit down,” Beidler said.

Another reason cited by the company not to meet is the lack of local complaints.

According to Ruth Breech, southern Ohio program director for Ohio Citizen Action, more than 3,800 letters have been written to the company urging them to reduce their plant emissions.

Eramet officials said only about 30 of those letters came from local residents but Marietta resident Lesley Kuhl, of Sixth Street, said many long distance writers have local ties.

“People from far away are going to write letters if they are related to somebody here,” Kuhl said.

The letters, citizen audit and meeting with Strickland are all part of an increased focus on community outreach over the summer months.

“This is a concerted effort on outreach. We are going to be talking and talking and talking,” Breech said.

Members of Neighbors For Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action will be going door to door in Marietta and Belpre June 16 and 17 and also plan to canvas the Farmer’s Market.

The next meeting of the Neighbors For Clean Air is 7 p.m. Thursday, June 29. A location has not yet been set.


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