WASHINGTON — Elliott Weinberg is on a one-man crusade to develop a pro-chlorine organization in the United States that aims to be independent of both industry and trade unions, similar to a fledgling European effort called the Chlorophiles.
His tone suggests a mission and his target is clear: Greenpeace.
``The message is that an important part of the chemical industry, so important to life, is under attack by Greenpeace,'' he said. ``Their ill-conceived effort has to be countered with the truth.''
Weinberg, an industry consultant whose career with chemical firms goes back to 1947, said he heard about the all-volunteer Chlorophiles about six months ago and friends told him he would be well-suited to the campaign.
``I have never been averse to involving myself in causes,'' he said.
Weinberg is the group's only U.S. organizer, and he said his chief goal is to organize a counterdemonstration to Greenpeace.
``If we can get involved in one counterdemonstration to Greenpeace, that will launch it and give credibility to the effort,'' he said.
The Chlorophiles group has demonstrated against Greenpeace in Europe.
Weinberg said he has met with industry trade groups and plans to approach unions. He said the group does not receive any industry support and wants to remain an independent organization.
Union positions have been mixed, with the Brussels, Belgium-based International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions allying itself with the Chlorine Chemistry Council of Washington. The AFL-CIO, however, may be less-receptive because it has made statements ``harmful to plastics,'' Weinberg said.
An official with the Akron, Ohio-based International Chemical Workers Union Council Ohio — part of the AFL-CIO — said it has not taken a position on chlorine. Calls to AFL-CIO officials in Washington were not returned.
Chlorophiles began in Belgium in 1994 and has about 1,800 members, Weinberg said. According to information on the group's Internet site (http://ping.be/ping 5859/index.html), it funds itself by selling $10 memberships. The money pays for services, such as brochures and the Web site.
Weinberg has been a New Brunswick, N.J., industry consultant since 1977.
Before that, he had a 30-year career in chemicals with stints as research director for Interstab Chemicals in New Brunswick and manager of field service for Apollo Chemical Corp. in Whippany, N.J.