Grassroots Group Calls on WV Department of Environmental Protection to Withdraw from Rockwool Open House

WV DEP urged to hold a public forum on the Rockwool air permit

As it builds a high-pollution industrial facility next to an elementary school, Rockwool has repeatedly told residents that they shouldn’t worry about toxic emissions. The reason, claims Rockwool, is that their plans were approved by regulators at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP), and that Rockwool will operate under “stringent” environmental laws.

Many people in Jefferson County are challenging that assertion and have questions for the WV DEP about the air permit and process. Despite these concerns, the WV DEP plans to defer to Rockwool and allow the company to control public access to the very regulators who are supposed to impartially enforce our environmental laws.

“We are calling on WV DEP to protect its independence and withdraw from the Rockwool Open House,” says Megan Day Hartlove, spokesperson for Citizens Opposing Rockwool.“Many local residents are very concerned about the way WV DEP has engaged Jefferson County regarding Rockwool.”  

WV DEP reportedly attended a recent closed-door meeting with Rockwool executives and state economic authorities.  

“In spite of all of our concerns over this facility, locals are being told that we must attend a private event as our only access to WV DEP officials, an event completely managed by the company they are supposed to regulate,” Day Hartlove says.“Jefferson County residents are done with Rockwool controlling the process. A foreign company should not be able to use its influence to exclude public input and limit citizen access to government officials.”

“We strongly urge the WV DEP to protect public confidence in their role as an independent regulator by declining to appear at the Rockwool Open House. Instead, WV DEP should immediately coordinate with elected officials at the Jefferson County Commission and hold a proper, independent public forum on the Rockwool air permit.”