Ohio Citizen Action Eramet Good Neighbor Campaign

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement
For thirty-four years, Citizen Action has practiced door-to-door democracy across Ohio. We combine original, newsmaking research and an extraordinary ability to stay in touch with members door-to-door and on the phone. Citizen Action members make the most of whatever time they can spare: signing petitions, writing letters, making phone calls, talking to neighbors, posting yard signs, or speaking out at community meetings.

Submission Information

Impact Essay
Adobe software helped to create a $170 million investment in Ohio’s environment. French mining and metals giant Eramet announced in August 2008 that it will invest $150 million to clean up its manganese refinery in Marietta on the Ohio -West Virginia border. This investment was in addition to the $20 million commitment made earlier in the year and came after months of talks between plant management, local group Neighbors for Clean Air, and Ohio Citizen Action, a statewide environmental organization. Ohio Citizen Action launched its “good neighbor campaign” at Eramet by working with neighbors who had been experiencing terrible odors and the release of the dangerous metal manganese from the facility. Manganese, when inhaled, causes symptoms including tremors, balance problems, impotence, and emotional rages and has recently been linked to Parkinson’s disease. Our campaign was the catalyst for a five –year University of Cincinnati study on how manganese affects Marietta’s children. Using PageMaker, Ohio Citizen Action’s graphic designer created letter-writing flyers that involved 58,375 Ohio Citizen Action members in sending personal letters, children’s drawings, and petitions to Eramet managers and officials of the French government. The campaign’s web page (http://www.ohiocitizen.org/campaigns/eramet/eramet.html), built in Dreamweaver, educated 15,684 unique visitors with letters to the editor, news articles and radio and television stories. The constant posting of media consistently kept the issue in the minds of residents of Marietta, Vienna, Boaz, Williamstown and Athens - as well as Eramet management. Our website became the place where anyone - neighbors, reporters, corporate officials, government officials - came to find everything about the campaign. Our web-tracking service revealed that our site received daily visits from Eramet in France. The turning point came in December 2007, when the campaign focused on Eramet’s second-largest shareholder, the French government. France’s Ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, became involved in bringing Eramet and the neighbors together. We sent petitions to President Sarkozy via the French embassy in Washington D.C. By March, 2008, more than 2,000 people had urged France to use their influence to convince Eramet to invest in improvements in Marietta and to meet with the people affected by their pollution. The Ambassador himself not only met with us in February, 2008, but also personally spoke to Eramet managers in Paris about the problems. Due to our limited financial resources, we create all of our own materials in-house. Our 2-person communications department in Cleveland uses Adobe Creative Suite (including PageMaker, Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver) acquired through the Tech Soup donation program, to make printed materials and publish web pages. The ability to export pdfs allows multiple staff to proof flyers before they are distributed door to door, and allows up-to-the minute edits when there are significant campaign developments. As Ohio Citizen Action continues to win environmental victories across Ohio, we will continue to rely on Adobe products.
Submission Category
Environmental Impact Other Media
Project Image
Supporting Work Files