Jun 26: Toxic smoke and mirrors
Overexposure to manganese has caused Parkinson's-like symptoms for thousands of welders. So why does the welding industry still get a free chemical pass?

GRANTS PASS, OR -- "Manganese poisoning is hardly a new concern. In a 1932 German paper, industrial doctor Erich Beintker described two patients who welded inside boilers and tanks. One complained of dizziness, ringing ears, sudden sweats, and sleeplessness. The other had developed a speech impediment and balance problems. 'A nervous disorder appears to be present here because of the manganese fumes,' Beintker concluded, urging welding companies to share information about the compounds in their products.

In the United States five years later, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company distributed a welding-safety booklet describing manganese as an 'important poison' that 'causes a disease similar to paralysis agitans' — Parkinson's. (The welding industry responded by demanding MetLife rewrite the booklet to tamp down the "scare" it had created; the insurer obliged.) In 1943, Occupational Hazards Inc. of Cleveland published an industrial-safety handbook warning of the metal's paralyzing effects. 'Manganese victims usually remain life-long cripples, unfit for gainful employment,' the authors wrote. They encouraged employers to provide ventilation and examine workers four times a year 'to detect early signs or symptoms,'" Jim Morris, Mother Jones, July/August 2008.

Jun 25: Eramet's young neighbors share answers to "Why Is Clean Air Important?"

WASHINGTON COUNTY, OH AND WOOD COUNTY, WV -- "Eighty-seven students from 5th - 7th grade classes in Marietta, Vienna, Parkersburg and Williamstown participated earlier this year in an essay contest on the topic, 'Why Is Clean Air Important?". A young writer named Chris shared his own experience with air pollution, saying 'I recently moved to the Mid-Ohio Valley, and I was not used to the severe pollution. I started developing asthma, and then the illness hit me like a speeding train. I've been hospitalized twice, and I must take several medications daily just to breathe without fear. Many people take breathing for granted, but I am no longer one of them,'" Melissa English, Southern Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 24: Reef campaign steps up for world heritage status

Marina Kahlemu
NEW CALEDONIA -- "Clashes in New Caledonia persist over nickel mining and coral reefs as indigenous Kanaks campaign for customary authorities to have more say in decision-making over resource development, says an environmental campaigner. Marina Kahlemu, former president of the Corail Vivant environmental group, says the struggle to save the reef is critical in the face of major mining projects... According to the Corail Vivant website: 'One hundred years of mineral exploitation - first by the Rothschild family, and then by the French state and Société Le Nickel, a subsidiary of the Eramet Group - have ruined the local people's social fabric, their health, and... it's official.. their environment,'" Yvonne Sargayoos, Scoop.

Jun 23: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

Jun 18: Physician suggests experimental Parkinson's drug may bind to brain's manganese receptors

Dr. Robert Jay Rowen
ATLANTA, GA -- "In his June 2008 newsletter, 'Second Opinion', Dr. Robert Jay Rowen cites research from Purdue University indicating that a drug typically used to treat tuberculosis may reverse effects of Parkinson's disease by binding to manganese receptors in the brain. 'Until now, there wasn't any known cure for these terrible symptoms. But now there's strong evidence that the cause - and cure - of Parkinson's may be related to a simple mineral,' Dr. Rowen states." Melissa English, Southern Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 16: European steel makers pay more for ferro-manganese

LONDON, UK -- "European steel makers have agreed to pay between 1,970 to 2,050 euros a tonne for ferro-manganese in the third quarter, a European trader told Reuters on Friday. That is above the 1,400 to 1,600 euros a tonne paid for ferro-manganese in the second quarter. Contracts and spot prices for silico-manganese are also being agreed at between 1,650 to 1,700 euros a tonne from 1,400 to 1,600 euros a tonne in the second quarter. Prices are higher because of problems with manganese supplies from South Africa, where power shortages have disrupted mining output, the trader said," Reuters. Published June 13.

Jun 11: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

May 29: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

PARIS, FRANCE -- Areva, Duval family seen renewing Eramet pact, Reuters.

May 28: Eramet Citizens' Audit relevance to free speech complaint debated

COLUMBUS -- "In a memo sent to Ohio District Court Judge Graham and Magistrate Judge King today, lawyers for free speech plaintiffs Florence Beidler and Ellyn Burnes opposed defense counsel's motion to exclude key background information to their complaint against the Washington County Fair Board and Board President, Steve Tornes. The memo refutes defense allegations that information in the complaint and attached exhibits is 'immaterial, impertinent and scandalous' and furthermore characterizes the motion to strike the exhibits as counter to standard judicial practice. One of the exhibits objected to by lawyers for the fair board is the 2006 Citizens' Audit of Eramet Marietta, which compiled public information about the company, including self-reported toxic release information," Melissa English, Southern Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 13: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

May 13: Parading protesters
Public agencies that host festivities have to ensure uniform application of rules

COLUMBUS -- "Is the Washington County Fair Board a public entity and is the annual Labor Day parade it runs in Marietta a public event? Those are key questions to answer in determining whether the board violated anyone's free-speech rights when it stopped an environmental group from marching in that parade last year... The group's main target is the Eramet Marietta manganese refinery, which is owned by Eramet SA, a French company. Members planned to wear T-shirts that read, 'Eramet: Let's clear the air!' Just one day before the parade, the group was told not to show up," editorial, Columbus Dispatch. Published May 12.

May 11: Defense motion filed in free speech lawsuit


COLUMBUS -- "Last Thursday defendants in a free speech lawsuit filed by Marietta resident Flo Beidler and Athens resident Ellyn Burnes, moved to strike exhibits submitted by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ First Amendment right to free speech was violated when the Washington County Fair Board and fair board president Steve Tornes prevented them from marching in Marietta’s annual Labor Day parade. Counsel for the defense stated that the exhibits were ‘immaterial, impertinent and scandalous.’ Among the exhibits is the June 2006 Citizens’ Audit of Eramet, which referenced public documents including those from the Agency on Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Eramet itself," Melissa English, Southern Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action. 24 KB pdf.

May 7: Manganese and children's brain development

Boston Children's HospitalBOSTON, MA -- "Evidence is slowly building that manganese in air, water and even soy-based formula can sometimes accumulate to toxic levels in children. There are no federal health standards for manganese exposure, in part because data are only beginning to emerge on its effects. Occupational exposure has long been known to be neurotoxic, producing behavior changes, memory loss and a Parkinson-like syndrome. This study, led by Children's toxicologist and emergency physician Robert Wright, MD, is among the first to document manganese neurotoxicity in children. In collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico, investigators collected blood samples from 300 12-month old Mexican children who were at risk for high-level manganese exposure. High manganese levels correlated with low neurocognitive scores at the age of 24 months," Medical News Today.

May 6: University of Virginia engineering students study Eramet

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- "A group of five second-year engineering students and Dr. Gwen Ottinger from the University of Virginia have issued a report of their recent research on the Eramet manganese refinery in Marietta, Ohio. The research centered around analysis and comparison of the company's sister facilities in the United States and Norway and the differing regulatory environments in which each plant operates. The report utilized source material including Eramet's own environmental documents, correspondence with the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority and the US EPA website. The students ascribe the smaller volume of pollution from the Norway plants to the use of closed-design furnaces and a $12.5 million investment in pollution control technology in 2005. They recommend a feasibility study of using closed-design furnaces in Marietta. However, even if Eramet chooses to continue use of the open design furnaces in Marietta, the report estimates that further upgrades in filtration systems will lead to improved capture of manganese dust and other pollutants," Melissa English, Cincinnati Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Manganese emissions in Marietta, Ohio: A study of Eramet facilities worldwide and pollution reduction in Marietta, Erin Beckmann, Matthew Brodt, Kevin Chang, Michael Kosiek and Dean Smith, University of Virginia.

May 5: Ohio Citizen Action ups the ante in Eramet campaign

Kate Russell
COLUMBUS -- "Ohio Citizen Action canvassers based in Columbus have joined the Eramet Marietta good-neighbor campaign and are going door to door in central Ohio to build support. They are joining the canvassers in southern Ohio who have been campaigning all the way from the Cincinnati area to Marietta and the river counties. The organization has also hired a new canvass director, Kate Russell, to lead this push. A Grand Rapids, Michigan, native, Russell earned a B.A. in history from Michigan State University last summer, and began canvassing with Clean Water Action in East Lansing. Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action Executive Director, said, 'We are very happy to have Kate join the staff to direct the Columbus field canvass. Her skills and dedication will strengthen Ohio Citizen Action's work in Central Ohio, and we're looking forward to a great summer,'" Ohio Citizen Action.

May 1: Manganese study is important for families

MARIETTA -- "We urge local parents of 7- and 8-year-olds to allow their children to participate in a study of manganese levels in local children’s bodies and its impact.. . . It’s our opinion that it’s better to know this information than to let the emissions continue at levels that could be harmful to children. Certainly parents don’t want their children in harm’s way, neither does the company," editorial, Marietta Times.

Apr 30: Protesters who were barred sue fair board; Women with anti-pollution message say parade ruling was free-speech violation

Prof. Daniel Kobil
COLUMBUS -- "Two women say that their free-speech rights were trampled when a county fair board barred them from marching in a Labor Day parade to protest pollution from a local plant. . . Group members planned to wear T-shirts saying 'Eramet: Let's clear the air!' and to hand out literature asking officials of the Marietta-area manganese refinery to reduce pollution, the lawsuit says. . . 'It's an outrage … one of the worst free-speech violations I've seen in some time,' said Daniel Kobil, a law professor at Capital University who represents one of the women. 'It is the essence of our constitution that government can't pick and choose the messages it allows to be expressed in a public forum,' Kobil said," Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch.

MARIETTA -- Fair Board Lawsuit: No Word Yet, Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

MARIETTA -- Local manganese study expands to children, Kate York, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Manganese Health Study Approved by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Katie Schwendeman, Marietta Register.

Apr 29: Eramet first quarter sales rise 37.9 percent

PARIS, France -- "French mining group Eramet reported a 37.9 percent rise in first quarter sales on Tuesday, led by soaring metal prices, and gave an upbeat outlook. Sales rose to 1.118 billion euros ($1.75 billion), driven by a 92.9 percent surge in its manganese division. Eramet operates mines in New Caledonia, Gabon and Indonesia and is the world's sixth-largest nickel producer. In February, the company posted an 82 percent jump in its 2007 net profit, driven by the spike in metals prices," Sudip Kar-Gupta, Reuters.

Eramet's press release

MARIETTA -- Univeristy of Cincinnati and Marietta College partner for manganese study, Callie Lyons, WMOA.

MARIETTA -- Manganese study, Courtney Rochon, WTAP.

Apr 28: Tox-Minus challenge

MARIETTA -- "In the fall, the Ohio EPA challenged companies to reduce their chemical emissions as reported under the Toxic Release Inventory or TRI. Five plants in Washington County are taking the EPA up on it. Kraton Polymers plans to reduce their TRI by 20% and reduce wastes treated on site by 15%. Solvay Advanced Polymers is installing new equipment to cut their TRI emissions in half by 2010. Eramet is doing construction work on Furnace #1 to reduce emissions by 50%. They're hoping to reduce plant-wide emissions by 20% in five years," Courtney Rochon, WTAP. Published April 25.

Apr 23: Clean air group sues over fair parade dispute

MARIETTA -- "Members of a local environmental group are suing the Washington County Fair Board, alleging they were unconstitutionally prohibited from marching in a 2007 Labor Day parade. Neighbors for Clean Air members Florence Beidler, of 105 Nolan Circle, Marietta, and Ellyn Burnes, of Athens, recently filed the complaint for declaratory, injunctive relief and restitution in U.S. District Court in Columbus. The suit alleges the fair board and its president, Steve Tornes, blocked group members from their right to free expression," Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Corrections, "Two members of Neighbors for Clean Air recently filed a lawsuit against the Washington County Fair Board, but plaintiff Florence Beidler said they did so independent of the group, which is not a party to the case," Marietta Times.

Apr 22: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

Apr 21: Earth Day river cruise in Marietta

more photos

Apr 18: Earth Day celebrations

jonah MARIETTA -- "Local group Neighbors for Clean Air, along with Ohio Citizen Action, are playing host to an Earth Day river cruise at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. During the hour-long cruise aboard the Valley Gem sternwheeler, fifth- through seventh-graders from Washington and Wood counties will read their winning submissions from a 'Why is Clean Air Important?' essay contest. Eric Fitch, director of Marietta College’s Environmental Sciences Department, will present information about various pollution sources in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Children’s activities will include creating a paper link chain representing 163 tons of airborne manganese from the Eramet facility and a banner-making project in support of a statewide environmental justice law. Admission is pay-what-you-can and proceeds will support Neighbors for Clean Air," Connie Cartmell, Marietta Times. Published April 17.

Apr 17: Fair Board faces lawsuit
Group demands right to march in parade the next time around

1st amendment MARIETTA -- "The Washington County Fair Board and its president, Steve Tornes, decided to prevent the local group Neighbors for Clean Air from participating in a Labor Day parade to kick off the County Fair last September. Tornes and the Fair Board now face a federal free-speech lawsuit filed against them Thursday by two members of the group. The 2007 occurrence reportedly marked the first time the Fair Board prevented a group from marching in the annual September 1 parade, which has traditionally had no formal application process for participants," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Apr 15: Eramet to acquire Norway's Tinfos AS in deal worth 593 million euros

PARIS, France -- "Eramet said it will acquire metal alloys producer Tinfos AS of Norway in a cash and shares deal worth about 593 million euros (over $937 million). It has agreed to buy a 93 percent stake from the family that controls the company and will make an offer on the same terms to the holders of the remaining 7 percent of shares. Tinfos had sales of 931 million euros (over $1.4 billion) in 2007 and employs more than 500 people, Eramet said. Its activities include production of silico-manganese at its Kvinesdal plant, which has capacity of approximately 180,000 tonnes(198,416 tons) per year and a workforce of around 200," Andrew Newby, Thomson Financial News.

Apr 14: Eramet encouraged to continue improvements

Richard Wittberg, Director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department
MARIETTA -- "While Eramet’s maintenance on furnace number one 'combined with a state-of-the-art abatement system upgrade,' for which I have not seen a time table, is a step in the right direction, it is probably not enough to reduce manganese emissions to a level not likely to cause health effects. A 20 percent reduction on an emission five times over a 'safe' level brings it down to four times that same 'safe' level. I strongly encourage Eramet to continue to aggressively pursue pollution control projects, especially those that will reduce their manganese emissions. This plant is very important to our local economy, but no industry is valuable enough to sacrifice our children’s potential or their futures," letter to the editor, Richard Wittberg, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, Marietta Times.

Apr 13: Athens woman sues board over parade

Court Seal ATHENS -- "Members of Neighbors for Clean Air were initially given permission to march in the annual parade, according to the suit, and were told by the fair board that anyone was welcome to march in the parade and all they had to do was show up. The group had sky-blue t-shirts made that stated "Eramet, let's clean the air!" The message on the t-shirts refers to the pollution caused by the Eramet refinery plant. The group has lobbied the French corporation to take steps to limit the pollution in Washington County. Tornes is an employee of Eramet. The night before the parade, a group member was told by a fair board representative that they could no longer participate in the parade the next morning, and that the fair board had unanimously decided to rescind permission for the group to march. Group members showed up anyway, with their banner and t-shirts, but were prevented from marching. However, the fair board did allow about 50 different groups to march, including a group expressing support for Eramet, Democratic and Republican party groups, political candidates, an individual displaying an anti-abortion message on his vehicle, fire trucks, cheerleaders and local businesses, according to the suit," Elizabeth Goussetis, Athens Messenger.

Apr 11: Federal free-speech lawsuit filed to protect Marietta Labor Day parade marchers

Bill of Rights COLUMBUS -- "Two members of Neighbors for Clean Air in Marietta, Ellyn Burnes and Florence Beidler, asked the U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, to issue an injunction to secure their right to march in the 2008 Labor Day parade. The defendants are the Washington County Fair Board, and Steve Tornes, who is both president of the Board and an employee of the Eramet Company. In 2007, the Board prevented Neighbors for Clean Air from marching in the parade wearing t-shirts bearing the words, "Eramet: Let's clear the air." Florence Beidler said, "We love the parade and the county fair, and we want to make sure it is always open to everyone," release, Icove Legal Group, Ltd, 40 KB pdf. Apr 10: Keep industrial upgrades in perspective:
Furnace maintenance by Eramet was long overdue

Neighbors for Clean Air MARIETTA -- "The project Eramet is undertaking now leaves us to wonder whatthe company's long term plans for the plant are. Because of a growing body of scientific research it appears that regulations for manganese emission are likely to become more stringent. Upgrades to plants of this scale only happen on a rotation of a decade or more. Is Eramet, by its actions, telling us that we must live with toxic airborne manganese emissions for another ten or fifteen years or until they close down the plant because it cannot comply with new regulations? Once, with the new furnace project, Eramet seemed prepared to make the kind of investment in our community that would keep the plant viable in the long run. We can't help but wonder why short term maintenance was chosen over a long term upgrade to keep the plant and its jobs intact for the future," letter to the editor, Neighbors for Clean Air.

MARIETTA -- Eramet should be praised, editorial, Marietta Times. Published April 9, 2008.

MARIETTA -- URS employee injured at Eramet, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Apr 8: Clean air group sponsoring Earth Day activities

MARIETTA -- "A local clean air group is teaming up with Ohio’s largest environmental group to sponsor events in conjunction with Earth Day. Neighbors for Clean Air of Marietta and Ohio Citizen Action will hold an Earth Day celebration April 19 involving a riverboat cruise. Boarding of the Valley Gem Sternwheeler begins at 1 p.m. with departure at 1:30 p.m. from its dock under the Washington Street Bridge, said Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air spokesman... The two groups launched a Good Neighbor Campaign focused on emissions from Eramet Marietta in 2006," Roger Adkins, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Apr 7: Neighbors for Clean Air sponsor Earth Day river cruise, essay contest

MARIETTA -- "Neighbors for Clean Air, the local clean air group from the Marietta area, and Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental organization, will team up for a unique Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19, 2008. The event will take place on a one-hour Ohio River cruise on the Valley Gem sternwheeler. Activities will include readings from a 'Why Is Clean Air Important?' essay contest, a presentation by Dr. Eric Fitch, director of Marietta College's Environmental Sciences department, kids activities, displays, and a demonstration of a CEREX real-time air monitor. Light refreshments will be provided by local businesses. Admission is pay-what-you-can (suggested $5) and proceeds will support Neighbors for Clean Air," Melissa English, Cincinnati Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Apr 3: 50,137 families speak out for clean air in Marietta

letter party
Kevin Watty, Rachael Belz, Crystal Cottrill, Alison Baker, and Jonah sort through a few of the 50,137 letters sent to Frank Bjorklund of Eramet.

MARIETTA -- "Today, the number of families from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia who have written urging Eramet to clean up and reduce airborne manganese emissions topped the 50,000 mark. 'Fifty thousand families understand the magnitude of pollution from this facility,' said Caroline Beidler of Neighbors for Clean Air. 'Why can't Eramet's management in Paris and Marietta understand that people in our area deserve to breathe free?'" Melissa English, Cincinnati Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Apr 2: Eramet works to fix furnace problem

MARIETTA -- "The relining and deepening of the largest of Eramet Marietta’s three submerged electric arc furnaces, scheduled to begin this week, will greatly reduce the chances of future malfunctions and lower emissions in a piece of equipment that has given the company some headaches over the last couple of years. 'What began Tuesday is the actual reconstruction of Furnace No. 1, and that, combined with a state-of-the-art abatement system upgrade, is expected to reduce that furnace’s particulate matter and manganese emissions by 54 percent' said Joy Frank-Collins, Eramet spokeswoman," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- Eramet says needed upgrades will reduce emissions, Katie Schwendeman, Marietta Register.

Mar 31: Eramet additions may cut pollution

Dr. Eric Fitch, director of the environmental science department at Marietta College
MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta will be making additions to its local facilities that plant officials say could reduce pollution in the area. Once approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the company will install a new baghouse emissions abatement system on a plant furnace that Eramet officials say could reduce emissions from that furnace by as much as 54 percent, and reduce overall emissions from the plant by up to 20 percent... Eric Fitch, director of the environmental science department at Marietta College, said a baghouse system is one of the older technologies available today for reducing emissions. 'Twenty percent is good progress,' he said. 'I don’t think it is going to solve the problems people are concerned about in the area, but it’s a step forward,' Patrick Cooley, Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Published March 29.

Mar 28: Eramet's plan "falls short of the significant modernization the community expects"

EPA program MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta incorporated plans to reduce emissions from the stacks of its Furnace #1 by relining the furnace and installing a baghouse, according to Plant Manager Frank Bjorklund's February 29 letter   to Ohio EPA's Tox Minus Program. Ohio Citizen Action and Neighbors for Clean Air commended the company for setting voluntary reduction goals, but noted that the proposed decrease of stack emissions 'falls short of the significant modernization the community expects.' Eramet's letter to Ohio EPA did not include any plans to reduce unregulated leaks of manganese from the tapping and casting processes, a major source of airborne manganese," Melissa Engish, Cincinnati Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- Eramet Marietta plans furnace upgrade, Callie Lyons, WMOA.

Mar 26: Kuhl on pollution

Lesley Kuhl MARIETTA -- "If citizens complain, polluters simply play the American public off against our government agencies, challenging citizens to spend their own time and money to investigate and obtain records from state and federal agencies about company operations. The government agencies involved have allowed profit-generating entities to go on using dilapidated equipment, emitting excess pollution, when they could have required polluters to lower toxic air emissions to protect citizens’ health. The citizens who pay the highest price for this are those most vulnerable — small children and the aged. They don’t profit from corporate pollution, work in plants or even live next door to a plant. Yet, they are the ones most likely to become sick with serious respiratory problems and other ills," Lesley Kuhl, Marietta Register.

Mar 24: Kids' drawing for Eramet Marietta

Mar 17: OSHA fines Eramet $28,800

MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta has been cited for 11 violations and fined $28,800 by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration following an investigation into a Jan. 4 accident that resulted in the death of a company electrician. Charles W. 'Chuck' Hatcher, 52, of Parkersburg died as the result of a 30-foot fall while performing a routine equipment inspection at the Eramet plant on Ohio 7 south of Marietta. OSHA investigators were at the scene the day of the accident, and a final citation and notice of penalty against Eramet was issued on March 5 by the federal agency’s office in Columbus," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times. Published March 15.

Mar 14: Dangerous metals in East Liverpool air

SH Bell
The S.H. Bell plant is located on the Ohio River in East Liverpool.

EAST LIVERPOOL -- "High levels of potentially hazardous metals are in the air in East Liverpool, and the Environmental Protection Agency is saying a local plant might be to blame.The levels of manganese and chromium are the big concern in the areas around the S.H. Bell plant in East Liverpool -- they’re the highest levels in the country.The focus is to bring the levels down quick and keep them down... he level of manganese is the biggest concern -- it's the highest. But the chromium can also be very dangerous depending on what type it is. If it's chromium zero or three -- the threat isn't as high. However, chromium 6 can cause cancer. It could be up to a year before experts will know which one they're dealing with," WTOV Steubenville.

EAST LIVERPOOL -- State agencies, S.H. Bell agree, disagree, Michael D. McElwain, East Liverpool Review.

Mar 5: 2,000 Ohio families send petitions to the French Ambassador

France CINCINNATI -- Since December 19th, 2,000 Ohio families have sent petitions to the French embassy in Washington D.C. Each one calls on the French government, which owns 32% of Eramet SA, to use its influence to persuade Eramet to clean up its Marietta manganese refinery and be a good neighbor. In February, Ambassador Pierre Vimont told Ohio Citizen Action that he had personally contacted Eramet managers in Paris about meeting with neighbors and making improvements in Marietta, Melissa English, Cincinnati Area Program Director.

Mar 4: ATSDR launches community website on Marietta air investigation as health activities continue

ATLANTA, GA -- "As their year-long Marietta Air Investigation in the Mid-Ohio Valley enters its final phase, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has launched a website for area residents to view updated site information, including air sampling results... Based on previous air sampling in the area, ATSDR has targeted manganese for possible further evaluation. It is uncertain whether chronic manganese inhalation at the concentrations measured in this investigation might cause subtle neurological effects," press release, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Published February 26.

Feb 29: Grassroots campaign results in several accomplishments

WV meeting
Dick Wittberg of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department presents information at a community meeting held Tuesday, February 26.

VIENNA, WV -- "A grassroots campaign to encourage Eramet to reduce manganese emissions has resulted in several accomplishments, officials said. The effort was discussed during a 7 p.m. public meeting Tuesday at Neale Elementary School. On hand were representatives of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department and the Ohio Citizen Action Group, the organizations spearheading the effort with help from the Neighbors for Clean Air group in Marietta. In addition, a group of about 30 concerned citizens attended. The concern is over manganese emissions at the Eramet Plant along Ohio 7 in Washington County, organizers said," Roger Adkins, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Feb 28: France's Eramet eyes greater manganese output

Patrick Buffet
PARIS, France -- "French metals group Eramet is mulling increased production of manganese ore from its mine in Gabon to fuel expected growth in global steel output, its chief executive Patrick Buffet said on Thursday... Speaking to a gathering of investors and analysts, Buffet said Eramet was exploring the possibility of producing more than 4 million tonnes of the metal going forward given the outlook for tight global supplies. 'We are studying the possibility of going above the 3.5 million tonnes... we are even thinking of exceeding four million tonnes,' Buffet said," Tamora Vidaillet, Reuters.

Feb 27: Neighbors For Clean Air speak to West Virginia neighbors

MARIETTA -- "The Neighbors For Clean Air were speaking to West Virginia neighbors Tuesday night about pollution problems in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Neighbors For Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action members teamed up for the meeting at Neale Elementary School. Spokesperson Caroline Beidler says air pollution doesn't recognize state boundaries, so they brought their campaign to the Wood County School. The non-profit groups touched on air quality monitoring data and ongoing studies on the health effects of Eramet's chemicals," Shanisty Myers, WTAP.

Feb 23: Toxic releases fall
Decrease is small, but it’s welcome news for many

Top 5 polluters in Washington CountyMARIETTA -- "Total disposals and other releases of toxic chemicals by Washington County industries dropped by more than 164,000 pounds in 2006 compared to 2005, according to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Toxic Release Inventory Report released this week. Sixteen companies in the county reported approximately 17 million pounds of toxic chemicals were stored and released into the air, water or land on-site during 2006, a decrease from the nearly 17.2 million pounds reported in 2005. 'It’s a relatively slight drop, but any drop is good,' said Eric Fitch, environmental science professor at Marietta College," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

PARIS, France -- ERAMET GROUP : Record results in 2007, press release, Eramet Comilog.

Feb 21: Eramet net profit up 82 pct as metals prices rise

profit PARIS, France -- "French mining group Eramet said on Thursday net attributable profit rose 82 percent to 582 million euros ($856.6 million) in 2007 on surging metals prices. Eramet more than doubled its proposed dividend to six euros from 2.90 euros per share. The world's sixth-largest nickel producer reported pretax, profit before exceptional items up 97 percent to 1.196 billion euros on sales which rose 24 percent to 3.792 billion. The rise lifted its core operating margin to 32 percent from 20 percent in 2006, according to Reuters Estimates," Reuters.

Feb 19: Cincinnati Program Director meets with French Ambassador

Melissa English and Pierre Vimont
WASHINGTON, DC -- "France's Ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, met last Thursday with Ohio Citizen Action Program Director, Melissa English, to discuss the Eramet Good Neighbor Campaign. More than 1,400 Ohio Citizen Action members have sent petitions to the ambassador's office since mid December, urging the French government to use its influence as an Eramet shareholder to clean up the Marietta plant and encourage Eramet management to meet with neighbors affected by its pollution. Since the first petitions arrived, the embassy's economic department has followed the campaign and have communicated with Eramet decision makers in Paris. The Ambassador met with top Eramet officials personally," Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- Neighbors host West Virginia meeting, "For nearly two years, the Neighbors for Clean Air and Ohio Citizen Action have been working on a campaign to clean up the Eramet Marietta facility, located on Route 7," WMOA.

Feb 12: Air quality issues have lingered for decades

MARIETTA -- "Health questions about the local air quality in and around Marietta run back for decades. There is a heavy concentration of coal-fired power plants, chemical manufacturers, and other industrial facilities in this stretch of the Ohio Valley, a geographical 'mixing bowl' that can sometimes tend to accumulate its airborne contaminants much more readily than it flushes them... The most recent consultation, released last July, identified airborne emissions of manganese particulate from Eramet Marietta, a refiner of manganese ore and producer of manganese alloys, as the chief contaminant of concern in its investigation,'" Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register. Published January 30. 4,031 KB pdf, articles on pages 1, 4 and 5.

Feb 7: Levels of manganese in air above EPA guidelines at times

MARIETTA -- "Preliminary results from an ongoing federal air quality study show manganese levels ranging between 0.02 and 0.33 micrograms per cubic meter of air sampled between April and November of 2007. The highest level was 0.28 micrograms above the 0.05 mcg/cubic meter reference level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but it’s not a large difference, according to Stephanie Davis, epidemiologist with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 'We’re not drawing any firm conclusions from these results at this time,' she said. 'There’s a high degree of variation in the data we’ve collected, and we want to collect at least 12 months of data before making any analysis,'" Sam Shawver, Marietta Times. Story orginally published February 5.

Feb 6: OEPA targets manganese in air

S.H. Bell Co.
S.H. Bell Company on the Ohio River in East Liverpool.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has started an enforcement action to lower air emissions that can harm people. The OEPA has monitored air quality in East Liverpool from 2000 to 2007 at two S.H. Bell Co. facilities. Tests from three monitors show the highest level of manganese in the United States, according to Mike Settles, an OPEA spokesperson. High exposure to manganese, a natural metal, can cause mental and emotional disturbances, slow and clumsy body movements, and damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, according to the OEPA. S.H. Bell breaks up ore and other materials at the two facilities, Settles said," D. A. Wilkinson, Youngstown Vindicator.

EAST LIVERPOOL -- State EPA cracks down on S.H. Bell, Michael McElwain, East Liverpool Review.

Feb 5: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

Feb 5: Levels of manganese in air above EPA guidelines at times

MARIETTA -- "Preliminary results from an ongoing federal air quality study show manganese levels ranging between 0.02 and 0.33 micrograms per cubic meter of air sampled between April and November of 2007... The information released by ATSDR last week showed results of eight month’s worth of air sampling from four monitoring stations located in the Marietta, Boaz and Vienna areas in proximity to the Eramet Marietta plant along Ohio 7 south. Eramet is the only manganese refinery in the United States," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

Jan 31: Eramet II: Local quandaries over a “magical metal”

stone age MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta, Inc. refers to itself as The Manganese Source in promotional materials. But what is manganese, and why do we need it here in Marietta other than for human nutrition? The first documented use of the element manganese can be traced as far back as the Stone Age, when people of the upper Paleolithic period used manganese dioxide as a pigment in their cave paintings some 17,000 years ago, according to the International Manganese Institute. Manganese is still used as a pigment for brick coloration today," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Jan 30: French ambassador says Eramet plans environmental upgrades

French embassy
French embassy in Washington, DC.
HENDERSON, KY -- "French-owned ferroalloys producer Eramet is planning 'new investments in the near future' to address the environmental performance of its Marietta, Ohio, plant, and is committed to the area for the long haul, according to Pierre Vimont, the French ambassador to the US. In a recent letter to Melissa English, program director for Ohio Citizen Action, a statewide consumer and environmental advocacy group, Vimont said he had discussed the pollution concerns of Marietta area residents with Eramet management in France. English told Platts on Tuesday that about 740 letters and petitions were sent by area residents to the ambassador in recent months in the hope he would intercede in the issue. In particular, residents have complained about manganese emissions from the plant," Bob Matyi, Platts Metals Week.

Jan 28: French Ambassador says Eramet planning to improve its environmental performance in Marietta

Pierre Vimont
CINCINNATI -- "In a letter to Ohio Citizen Action Program Director, Melissa English, French Ambassador, Pierre Vimont, indicates the embassy has been in touch with Eramet management in France regarding pollution issues in Marietta. 'I understand that Eramet Marietta is committed to new investments in the near future, which... should improve its environmental performance', said the ambassador. Furthermore he states, 'I am confident... the company is committed to a long-term presence in the area and to a good relationship with the community that it serves.' The embassy has received more than 740 letters and peitions since December 19th from people throughout the region, regarding Eramet's pollution in Marietta," Ohio Citizen Action.

Jan 23: Air monitoring data shows manganese spikes

MARIETTA -- "Air monitoring data from four sites in Washington and Wood counties shows manganese readings at two to six times the safe level set by U.S. EPA. Readings taken each month were averaged over the year to determine 'mean' readings. Mean readings ranging from .1 to .16 micrograms / cubic meter were recorded from air monitors located in Harmar Village and the Washington County Career Center in Marietta, as well as from those located at Neale Elementary School in Vienna and the waste water treatment works in Boaz. People from these communities are being exposed to levels of airborne manganese that studies have linked to a doubled chance of Parkinson's disease and subtle health effects such as tremors and balance problems. Out of 40 sampling occasions, 29 recorded manganese levels above that deemed acceptable by federal regulators. The highest concentration of airborne manganese in 2007 was recorded at Neale Elementary School. It was six times the federal standard," Melissa English, Cincinnati area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Marietta Washington County heavy metals study, 74 KB xls.

Jan 23: Input sought on county’s air quality

MARIETTA -- "No one addressed Washington County Tuesday at an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Columbus on classifying certain locations as particulate nonattainment areas, a spokeswoman for the agency said... Washington County is one of 21 counties in the Buckeye State that failed to meet the clean air standard, based on the size of chemical particles in the air. The county had been listed as a nonattainment area even before the federal EPA enacted stricter guidelines," Marietta Times.

Jan 22: Of particulate interest

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Several plants in our area, including one singled out as one of Ohio's biggest polluters, have said they're working to reduce their emissions. To a point, Marietta College Environmental Professor Eric Fitch agrees. 'The good news is, a lot of plants have been working to reduce their emission controls,' Fitch says. 'There are certainly technologies out there, for the type of emissions we're talking about, to have much cleaner burning plants, and a much cleaner emission stream.' But Fitch adds that, with Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency saying Washington County remains in non-compliance, much still needs to be done," Todd Baucher, WTAP.

MARIETTA -- County fails clean air standards: Ohio EPA seeks public input, The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing Tuesday at its central office in Columbus seeking public comment on the designation, Marietta Times. Published January 19.

Jan 21: Eramet pays settlement

MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta paid a $37,500 settlement to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last week for a November 2006 emission violation, but the incident did not pose a threat to the public, according to Joy Frank-Collins, the company’s communications and public relations representative. 'At no point were the emissions above those allowable by our Title V permit, and there were never any emissions beyond our normal output,' she said," Sam Shawver, Marietta Times. Published January 19.

Jan 18: Eramet and Marietta: The past and the future First in a series

MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta, Inc. is the second largest private employer operating in Washington County. The company made it onto the pages of this newspaper (and others) on several occasions last year, and likely not so much by its own choice. To briefly recap just one incendiary and telling public incident: The group Neighbors for Clean Air printed up sky-blue yard signs asking the company to help them 'Clear the Air,' and those started popping up around the city last summer, shortly after a questionable last-minute decision by the Fair Board to exclude the local group and its message – emblazoned on t-shirts – from walking in a partially Eramet-sponsored County Fair parade, reportedly marking the first such exclusion in the parade’s history. (The Fair Board president was found to be an Eramet employee)," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Jan 16: EPA fines Eramet

Eramet Comilog MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta was fined $37,050 for a 2006 violation of its emissions permit, according to an order issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency late last month. The judgment comes more than a year after a particulate emissions compliance test on Eramet’s No. 1 furnace indicated a total emission rate higher than allowed by OEPA. The Nov. 8, 2006, test showed emissions from the furnace at a rate of 36.4 pounds per hour, more than the 27.2 pounds per hour rate allowed for a furnace operating under a load of 25 megawatts or less," Marietta Times.

PARKERSBURG, WV -- Violations found, fine paid, Todd Baucher, WTAP News.

PARKERSBURG, WV -- Fibrox tax abatement, Courtney Rochon, WTAP News.

Jan 15: Eramet fined $37,050 for air permit violation

MARIETTA -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has fined Paris-based Eramet's Marietta refinery $37,050 for a violation of their air pollution permit. In a document dated December 28, 2007, the Ohio EPA says that Eramet exceeded its permitted levels of particulate emissions at its Furnace #1 in a stack test in November 2006. Eramet claimed that the emissions were due to leaking pressure rings, which it replaced after the November 2006 test. This problem-ridden furnace was also the site of two leaks of tens of thousands of pounds of molten metal in February and March 2007," Melissa English, Cincinnati area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- Eramet fined for emissions, Callie Lyons, WMOA.

Jan 14: Eramet letter total tops 45,000

MARIETTA -- "Letters from people of all ages, from throughout Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia have been pouring in to metals refinery Eramet for nearly two years now. As of mid-December, 45, 413 people have asked Eramet to be a responsible neighbor by cleaning up its facility in Marietta. Investments in updated technology would address air pollution and odor problems that have plagued area residents for decades. In 2007 alone, 25,619 people wrote 'good neighbor' letters to Eramet plant manager, Frank Bjorklund," Melissa English, Cincinnati area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

MARIETTA -- Eramet, feds investigating fatal accident, Sam Shawver, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Jan 10: Researcher tries to get handle on potentially hazardous plant emissions

Dr. Erin Haynes MARIETTA -- "A researcher from the University of Cincinnati is applying for grant funds to study the impact of industrial emissions on people who live near a manufacturing plant in Washington County. In particular, Erin Haynes wants to learn whether the levels of manganese observed in local people, which exceed those seen in some workers who have suffered negative impacts, could pose a health risk to children who live in the communities neighboring the Eramet plant near Marietta," Callie Lyons, Athens News. Article published January 7, 2008.

Jan 9: Kids' drawings for Eramet Marietta

kids drawing

Jan 8: OSHA investigates the cause of Eramet accident that killed man

MARIETTA -- "Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on site hours after an electrician died following a 30-foot fall from an overhead crane at Eramet Marietta Friday morning. Charles W. 'Chuck' Hatcher, 52, of Parkersburg, an Eramet employee, fell around 9:15 a.m. while performing a routine equipment inspection at the company’s facility on Ohio 7 south of Marietta. He was later pronounced dead at Marietta Memorial Hospital" Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

Jan 5: Man falls to death at Eramet

Eramet Marietta

PARKERSBURG -- "An Eramet employee died Friday morning after falling 30 feet from a crane. Charles 'Chuck' Hatcher, 52, of 727 Bird St., Parkersburg, was pronounced dead at Marietta Memorial Hospital, according to the company and Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. No foul play is suspected in the fall, Mincks said. 'It appears to have been an accident,' he said. An electrician employed at the Ohio 7 facility south of Marietta for nearly four years, Hatcher fell from an overhead crane around 9:15 a.m. while performing a routine inspection on the equipment," Evan Bevins, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Jan 3: 2008 — The Year of Positive Change?

Caroline Beidler
Caroline Beidler
MARIETTA -- "March 2008 will mark the 10th anniversary of my concern and involvement with Eramet Marietta’s odor and particulate pollution. A decade of odors disturbing my sleep, odors while doing yard work, walking the dogs and while driving in Washington and Wood counties. Ten years of washing particulate soot off the house siding, repainting wood porch trim and paying the extra costs associated with running the air conditioner or clothes dryer on days when the windows should be open and clothes should be line-dried, if not for the smell," Caroline Beidler of Neighbors for Clean Air, letter to the editor, Marietta Register.

Older Eramet news Jul 2007 - Dec 2007, Jan 2007 - Jun 2007, Jul 2006 - Dec 2006, March 2000 - Jun 2006

Melissa English
Ohio Citizen Action
(513) 221-2100

Neighbors for Clean Air

P.O. Box 295
Marietta, OH 45750

Older Eramet news

Jul 2007 - Dec 2007

Jan 2007 - Jun 2007

Jul 2006 - Dec 2006

Mar 2000 - Jun 2006