Eramet news from July 2006 - Dec 2006

Dec 31: Unemployment rates lower : Washington County remains below state average despite lockout

MARIETTA -- "One reason Cook said he feels the county has seen an increase in the unemployment rate is the ongoing work stoppage at Eramet. The lockout at Eramet has put approximately 300 local workers out of work and if the situation is not resolved the unemployment numbers could increase even further, Cook said. 'If they don’t get this settled and Eramet would pull out there’s 550 jobs down there that would go down the tube,' Cook said," Kevin Pierson, Marietta Times.

Dec 24: Locked out Eramet workers say their resolve remains strong

Eramet Marietta worker Ed Scott stands outside the Ohio 7 plant on Christmas Eve with several co-workers.

MARIETTA -- "Huddled around a makeshift wood-burning stove and listening to holiday tunes on an old radio on Sunday, union members at Eramet Marietta plan to do the same today and Tuesday. 'We’re as strong as ever and being out here in the cold and during the holidays shows our unity,' said Ed Scott, 51, of Parkersburg, one of about 300 union workers considered locked out of the Ohio 7 facility for the past four months," Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Dec 20: Eramet the Grinch

MARIETTA -- "We're not letting Eramet steal Christmas just yet. The Cincinnati field canvass organized a toy drive for locked out workers who are not receiving unemployment benefits. The crew has a great time doing this and wish the workers the best during the holidays," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action. †

Dec 7: Eramet contract rejected

MARIETTA -- "Proposed changes to retirement programs and health benefits remain a sticking point at Eramet Marietta where picket lines will continue today after union workers voted down a second contract offer Wednesday... 'The body has spoken twice and said that they are not satisfied with what is being offered,' said Denny Longwell, staff representative of the District 1 United Steelworkers Union. 'We hope that’s starting to get through to the company,'" Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Contract rejected, Andrea Wilcox, WTAP.

Dec 5: Genuine Ohio air pollution

can of air

MARIETTA -- "This was given to me by a woman at our very first Neighbors for Clean Air group meeting. She bought it in a gift shop in downtown Marietta and thought I should have it," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air.

Nov 7:  Dear Stink Diary:

PINEHURST -- "I am awake because Eramet's industrial odors are strong enough to be in our home. Keep in mind we are at least 4 miles from Eramet. Yes, our doors and windows are closed. We have headaches and sore throats. I have called the Ohio EPA and am waiting for the duty officer to call me back. I'd much rather be sleeping," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air.

Nov 6: Parents in Marietta want Eramet to do more to ensure safety in their community

MARIETTA -- "Dennis and Lesley Kuhl discuss how the impact of Eramet's pollution and the lack of government research affects the daily lives of their two young children and community," Ohio Citizen Action.

Nov 3: Eramet sales rise on nickel, manganese

Eramet`s profits have risen 58% this year

LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Eramet SA posted a 17% increase in sales for the September quarter with revenue rising to €723 million compared to €618 million a year earlier. The biggest increase came at its manganese unit which surged by 23% to €289 million, while nickel revenues grew by 15% to €235 million as 'markets are still in a phase of rapid growth,'" Mining Journal.

Nov 1: Welding suit begins; men claim fumes caused illness

CLEVELAND -- "'The companies did not do enough to warn the workers about the potential dangers of inhaling fumes from the welding rods, plaintiff attorney Jeff Thompson told jurors. 'This is a case about corporate arrogance,' Thompson said. 'Corporate arrogance that slowly, quietly and insidiously robs workers of their health and future,'" Mike Tobin, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Oct 27:  Eramet workers receive unemployment

MARIETTA -- "Making it got a little easier Thursday after a hearing officer ruled that Eramet workers are in fact, locked out, not on strike. It's more than just words. The decision means union workers can collect unemployment," Andrea Wilcox, WTAP News.

MARIETTA -- Eramet employees receive benefits, Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Oct 26:  Researchers assess exposure to metal emissions in Marietta

CINCINNATI -- "University of Cincinnati environmental health experts are trying to determine the extent of metal exposure in a community chronically exposed to manganese, lead and chromium. This information will be used to justify larger studies to determine the effects of these trace metals on human health," press release, University of Cincinnati. 27 KB pdf.

Oct 14:  Platform: Parents want tighter controls on pollution

MARIETTA -- "My children are under age 6 — in the midst of their neurological developmental years. Are theirs? Do their children live within a five-mile radius of one of the largest emitters of toxic air pollutants in the entire country, as mine do? When was the last time either of these men took their 2-year-old child to have blood drawn to determine his manganese level? When was the last time these gentlemen drove their toddler to a neurotoxicologist three hours away to be examined for an alert level manganese exposure? My family has had to do both in the past year," Leslie Kuhl, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Union won’t vote on latest offer by Eramet, Kate York, Mariettta Times.

Oct 10:  Dave Roberts at WV Lions Club meeting video clip

PARKERSBURG -- Dave Roberts, a Lions Club member, talks about pollution in the Ohio River valley. Neighbors for Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action were invited by the noon Parkersburg Lions Club to present at their monthly meeting at the Blenner-Hasset Hotel in downtown Parkersburg, WV, Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- New talks coming in Eramet dispute, Marietta Times.

Oct 9:  Florence Beidler at WV Lions' Club video clip

PARKERSBURG, WV -- Neighbors for Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action were invited by the noon Parkersburg Lions Club to present at their monthly meeting at the Blenner-Hasset Hotel on Thursday, September 14. Florence Beidler, a Marietta resident involved with Neighbors For Clean Air and Ruth Breech of Ohio Citizen Action spoke for about fifteen minutes to over 30 Lyons about the Citizens' Audit of Eramet, Ohio Citizen Action.

Oct 4: 
Dear Stink Diary:

PINEHURST -- "The weather has started turning cooler and it would be so nice to be able to open windows and let what some refer to as 'fresh air' in the house. Instead, we continue to run the air conditioner and use more electricity than we want to because of Eramet's odors. Today marks the 50th recorded stink episode this year. This is the second day in a row Keith and I both woke up with the smell and headaches," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air.

Oct 2:  Support Eramet workers

BELPRE, WV -- "As a retired (30 years) metal trades worker from Elkem Metals, now Eramet, and a union steward for 22 out of those 30 years, I fully support my locked-out brothers and sisters, for I know the injustices and atrocities that have been present by Union Carbide, Elkem and Eramet," letter to the editor, Larry W. Block, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Sep 29:  Lending a helping hand

MARIETTA -- "A citizens group is doing its best to help workers who are in the middle of a labor dispute. Members of Neighbors For Clean Air Thursday night presented United Steelworkers Union workers with food items it's been collecting all week. The workers are involved in a work stoppage at the Eramet plant on Ohio Route even, that's nearly a month old," Todd Baucher, WTAP News.

Sep 27:  Time for Eramet officials to answer key questions

MARIETTA -- "Over the course of the last 10 years while encouraging Eramet to become a better corporate neighbor I have been questioned by many of Washington Countyís leaders. The inquiries are always the same, 'What about the jobs?' The impression is that this county cannot exist without the jobs at Eramet," Caroline Beidler, letter to the editor, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Eramet sends form letter to neighbors, Russell Craig, CEO, Eramet Marietta.

Sep 25:  Candidate visits with Erametís workers

MARIETTA -- "Congressman Sherrod Brown, D-13th District, visited Eramet workers who say they have been locked out of the ferroalloys plant along Ohio 7 between Marietta and Belpre," Diana DeCola, Marietta Times.

Sep 21:  No agreement At Eramet

MARIETTA -- "The 25-day-old strike at a Washington County manufacturer will go into day 26. There was no agreement after two hours of talks Wednesday afternoon between Eramet and the united steelworkers union," Todd Baucher, WTAP News.

MARIETTA -- Eramet, union fail to reach agreement, Kevin Pierson, Marietta Times.

Sep 20:  Eramet negotiations to resume

MARIETTA -- "Now in his fourth week on the picket line, Dencil Brown, 53, of Boaz, W.Va., said he is as confident as ever in his decision to help vote down the company’s contract offer. 'A lot of us came here right out of high school and gave them our good health and good years and for a long time they’ve been good to us,' Brown said. 'Now they want to come and take that all away on the tail end of our careers. It’s not right,'" Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Sep 19:  Neighbors support Erametís locked out workers

MARIETTA -- "Members of the United Steelworkers have been locked out of Eramet Marietta since August 26, 2006. Neighbors for Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action are supporting the union, and have pointed out that accidents and pollution will increase from the plant with inexperienced workers on the job," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

Sep 13:  Study of local air continues

Eramet, Marietta

MARIETTA -- "Just how bad is the air weíre breathing? That was the core question on peopleís minds during a public meeting with members of the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at Marietta College Tuesday night. 'If you had family living here, what would you say to them?' Marietta resident Steve Parlin asked ATSDR epidemiologist Stephanie Davis. 'Personally I have to go by the evidence, and there are too many unknowns to make a determination,' Davis answered," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

ATSDR goes out of its way not to find evidence. Consider last week's news from one of the most polluted neighborhoods in America:
LOUISVILLE, KY -- Emissions' cancer risk called low, Activists question Rubbertown finding, James Bruggers, Louisville Courier-Journal.

Sep 9:  Agencies to address air quality

MARIETTA -- "At the request of Neighbors for Clean Air and RECOVER, local groups concerned about air quality, ATSDR is considering the potential health effects of emissions from the Eramet plant on Ohio 7, south of Marietta. Fitch said anyone concerned about the local air quality and its potential impact should attend Tuesday’s meeting," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

Sep 5:  Dear Jacques:
Neighbors write French Embassy and Eramet CEO

MARIETTA -- "Sixty-one neighbors in Vienna took the time last weekend to write a letter to Russ Craig. Because he has not responded to any previous letters, we decided to send them directly to you, so that you can read them for yourself," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air and Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

Sep 3:  Continuing their march

MARIETTA -- "A group that marched in Washington County's parade Saturday morning has been marching for days. As of midnight Saturday night United Steelworkers union members have been picketing outside of Eramet for exactly one week. The steelworkers say its not just one issue that has been keeping them on the lines but several," Abby Kidder, WTAP News.

Sep 1:  Changes to pensions at issue

MARIETTA -- "The average age of the 290 striking Eramet Marietta workers is 50. About a quarter of the union force is within a few years of retirement. It helps explain how proposed changes in pension plans and retiree medical costs has led to picket lines forming outside the Ohio 7 plant, just south of Marietta," Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Aug 30:  Day two: Labor dispute continues

MARIETTA -- "Tensions are high, as labor disputes continue between Eramet and members of the United Steelworkers Local... International U.S.W. leader Denny Longwell says, 'We didn't want to quit talking when we did. We wanted to continue talking, to continue working, but the company said no.' Eramet disagrees, saying the union's welcome to work under the last, best, and final offer," Rachel Withers, WTAP News.

Aug 28:  Weekend of action

VIENNA, WV -- "Driving into Marietta on Thursday afternoon at 1:45 pm, I saw a large orange cloud rising from Eramet's smoke stacks. The orange dust lasted for about ten minutes, and then dissipated into the air. There was a haze around the plant all weekend. Ohio Citizen Action canvassers went door-to-door on August 24th and 25th in Vienna, West Virginia, across the river from Marietta. Vienna residents were very supportive," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- Union work stops at Eramet , Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Aug 26:  Group airs pollution concerns to council

VIENNA -- "Neighbors for Clean Air believes the local plant should use the same control measures and processes as the plant in Norway. 'We believe that it’s time for the citizens of the area to take the matter into their own hands and get something done,' Whistler said. Ruth Breech of the Ohio Citizen Action group said Eramet needs to become a better industrial neighbor," Roger Adkins, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Aug 23:  Good news about ozone

MARIETTA -- "Levels of a dangerous pollutant have decreased during the past six years in the Marietta area and are prompting state environmental officials to ask for a better classification for the region... Lower ozone levels are good news, said Barbara Stewart, member of Neighbors for Clean Air. 'It's rare we hear of that,' Stewart said, later adding, 'But I think we have a long way to go,'" Paul Kita, Marietta Times.

Aug 15:  Dear Stink Diary:

PINEHURST-- "Tonight marked the 40th stink episode of the year at or near our home in Pinehurst. Since January 2006 we have recorded 40 'stink episodes' in our stink diary. We had a very heavy rain and thunderstorms earlier tonight and people here often ask, 'does Eramet release more during a heavy rain?' because afterwards the blanket of odor is awful," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air.

Aug 3:  Toxic air update
A message from Rubbertown Emergency ACTion (REACT)

LOUISVILLE, KY -- "The Bucket Brigade is back! Residents no longer have to wait anywhere from hours to days for someone to come out and investigate an odor. They are now equipped to take air samples themselves. Residents follow a method approved by the EPA to identify the amount of specific chemicals lingering in the air," REACT.

30 people at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville wrote letters to Eramet CEO Russ Craig asking him to clean up the Ohio River and be a good neighbor. Click here for photos from the festival.

Aug 3: Ultrafines' quick neurological hit
Particles take a direct route to the brain

ROCHESTER, NY -- "Proof of the penetrating capabilities of tiny particles continues to emerge. A team of U.S. researchers has just added to and clarified the existing evidence by documenting significant, rapid accumulations of inhaled ultrafine manganese oxide particles in the lung and many brain regions," Bob Weinhold, Environmental Health Perspectives.

Aug 2: Letters to Eramet from Vienna, West Virginia

VIENNA, WV -- "I strongly urge you to review your response to the findings of so many environmental studies showing how much your plant emissions are contributing to the poor air quality in our communities. It is not acceptable to just be a 'good' employer - but look at what your processes are doing to the air and water we all must use without having a real choice," letter to Eramet CEO Russ Craig, Rexine Johnson.

Last Thursday and Friday, 59 Vienna residents wrote letters to Eramet CEO Russ Craig asking Eramet to clean up and be a good neighbor. 138 Neighbors signed showing they support clean air, healthy communities and good industrial neighbors.

Jul 27:  Ohio EPA responds to the Citizens' Audit of Eramet

COLUMBUS -- "District office staff assure me that they are responsive to complaints and will continue that effort. We give Eramet and the Washington County area a high priority. Due to our location and staff size, we can't be in the area every day. In addition to our inspectors, we also rely on citizen input and the company's required monitoring, record keeping and reporting obligations to insure ongoing compliance at our facilities," Joseph Koncelik, Director, Ohio EPA.

Jul 21:  Clean air group takes report to commissioners

MARIETTA -- "'Our goal is to make them aware it’s a group of citizens and the report highlights an important issue in our lovely town of Marietta,' said John Whistler, one of the members who presented the 26-page summary of their findings. The report centers on the actions of Eramet’s output of chemicals such as manganese and chromium, which Neighbors for Clean Air believe could be harmful but await further confirmation studies by the EPA," Paul Kita, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- "Neighbors For Clean Air" goals, "The grassroots group continues to seek voluntary medical histories from people who live within a few miles of the Eramet Plant..especially in Boaz, Williamstown and Vienna," Kirk Greenfield, WTAP.

Jul 14:  $3.25 million settlement reached with Eramet Marietta Inc.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV -- "Later this year, the hatchery will work with the states of Ohio and West Virginia to restore beds in the Ohio River, where a metals factory is believed to have polluted the waterway and wiped out the animals. In March, a $3.25 million settlement was reached with Eramet Marietta Inc., Elkem Metals Co. LP and two other companies over alleged discharges from Eramet's Marietta, Ohio, plant in 1999 and 2000," Vicki Smith, Virginia Daily Press.

Jul 12:  Air pollution spreads beyond immediate areas of plants

MARIETTA -- "Air pollution is different. It comes to you. In fact, if you live in the Mid-Ohio Valley, it comes directly to your home. Nobody really wants to live along Ohio 7 between Marietta and Belpre. We all know the air is terrible there. But we also know that you don’t have to live along Ohio 7 to enjoy that stinking air," L.P. McGovern, letter to the editor, Marietta Times.

Jul 7:  Eramet Marietta neighbors write Jacques Bacardats, CEO Eramet International

MARIETTA -- "Although they have repeatedly refused to meet with us, the management at Eramet Marietta has apparently read the audit and issued a written response in a newsletter called 'For the Record,'" Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air and Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

Eramet Marietta's reaction to Citizens' Audit

Jul 6:  Extent of manganese, lead and chromium exposure in Marietta, Ohio: A pilot study

MARIETTA -- "The University of Cincinnati will conduct a pilot study in Marietta, Ohio to determine the extent of environmental exposure to manganese, lead, and chromium. The study will last 2 days. The target start dates are July 28-29 or Aug 4-5. Due to our limited funding for this pilot, only 25 residents will be selected to participate,'" Dr. Erin Haynes, University of Cincinnati.

If interested, please complete the brief 1-page survey, 5 Kb pdf.

Jul 4:  UC study to check manganese

MARIETTA -- "Ruth Breech, Southern Ohio Program Director with Ohio Citizen Action, is working locally with Neighbors for Clean Air, to test local air for contaminants. 'Our campaign with Eramet is to get them to clean up and reduce emissions,' Breech said. 'We know it’s in the community,'" Connie Cartmell, Marietta Times.

Eramet news from March 2000 - Jun 2006

Ruth Breech
Ohio Citizen Action
(513) 221-2100

Neighbors for Clean Air

P.O. Box 295
Marietta, OH 45750

What's the problem?

Citizens' Audit of Eramet


Pollution log

Older Eramet news
Mar 2000 - Jun 2006

See also materials on Washington County
air quality

For more information, contact Ohio Citizen Action board member
Caroline Beidler.