chance to get facts out to area residents
It's clear that the 75 to 100 people attending an Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency meeting to discuss Eramet's air pollution permit had some
concerns they needed to air.
This week's meeting was to discuss the
consolidation of some of Eramet's permits under one new permit as outlined by
the federal Clean Air Act. The new permit won't change the amount of toxins the
Eramet plant gives off into the air, but the new permit does improve the way the
pollution is monitored and reported.
Local residents were visibly
frustrated. A representative of the company who attended the meeting said people
were outraged that their comments would have no bearing on how much waste this
permit allowed the plant to emit into the air. He said it was his opinion that
the residents felt they were misled about the purpose of the meeting.
Perhaps the residents are simply frustrated with Eramet, period. News
accounts of the hearing, including those that ran in The Marietta Times,
accurately explained that the volume of pollution allowed under the permit was
not going to change. So perhaps people attended the meeting hoping to get a
message across to the company -- they want Eramet to do more to clean up its
processes in the future.
We have to ask why the Eramet representative chose
not to identify himself to the people attending the meeting. He said he took
notes on their concerns and passed them on to company executives. And while a
few in attendance may have known him by name, it's likely the majority of the
people there thought no one from Eramet attended.
He said he didn't speak up
because the point of the meeting wasn't for the company to stand up and make a
speech. On the contrary, we think he should have addressed their concerns
personally. If nothing else, making his presence known would have sent a message
to the community that the company cared enough to send someone to hear their
And in response to the community's concerns, the company on
Thursday released its latest reports on how much pollution Eramet released into
the air during the year 2000. The good news is that air emissions are down.
Unfortunately, the people attending the EPA hearing didn't get the benefit of
getting that information first hand because the company representative chose not
to speak and gave the information in writing to just a handful of people.
think the company needs to take every opportunity -- even when the situation is
an uncomfortable one -- to address community concerns about the impact the
Eramet plant has on the community and the people who live here. While the
community recognizes the benefits of the jobs the plant provides, the concerns
about the environment are legitimate and should be addressed whenever they are
We commend the company for doing more in recent years to be a good
neighbor and work proactively to reduce emissions from the plant. But more needs
to be done and plant representatives cannot shy away from any chance they have
to acknowledge the community's concerns head on. Passions run high on both sides
of the issue. That's even more reason for the company to communicate with the
community whenever the opportunity presents itself.