How We Win

The fight over Rockwool's toxic pollution near our schools and homes is just beginning.

Jefferson County residents and parents are fighting hard to protect our community from Rockwool and its immediate threat to our air and water. We speak out at public meetings, write letters, make calls, and share the message that we do not want heavy industry in our county.  

Rockwool would have you believe this is a “done deal” and that you should just accept their presence in the county, but that's not accurate. Currently, they do not have their vertical building permit or the gas, water, roads, and sewer lines they need to operate.  

"Get us out of there. Get us out of there. That is how democracy works." Shawn Torbert, Rockwool U.S. Public Affairs Manager, March 8, 2019

Rockwool has broken ground but they have not started building their facility.  In fact, they have already violated the conditions of their WV/NPDES General Water Pollution Control Permit during the early stages of construction on September 11, 2018 and October 2, 2018.  The carelessness they have already exhibited reinforces our position that we cannot risk the safety of our citizens for the sake of heavy industry.

Jefferson County residents still control their own destiny!  There are multiple ways we can send Rockwool packing.  It just takes YOU getting involved and spreading the word.  Consider:

  • Rockwool is demanding that taxpayers fund a new industrial sewer line to Jefferson Orchard. This line will connect to the Charles Town system and has not been approved or built.  Documents regarding the sewer bond can be found here
  • The WV/NPDES Water Pollution Control Permit No. WV0022349 was presented to the Charles Town City Council on October 1, 2018.  Due to their inconsistent numbers for potential water usage and wastewater output, Rockwool has been asked to provide their Byhalia, MS plant's water and sewer bills from the last six months. They submitted a modification to the permit on October 31, 2018. A public hearing was held by the WVDEP at the Ranson Civic Center on December 10, 2018. Comments can be submitted to the WVDEP until December 20, 2018. Include the permit information, WV NPDES Pemit Application No. WV-0022349-H-Jefferson County, and submit comments and questions to:
    • Director, Division of Water and Waste Management, DEP Permitting Section

      601 57th Street, SE
      Charleston, WV 25304-2345
      Attention: Lori Devereux

  • Rockwool needs hundreds and thousands of gallons of fresh water daily, from a water line that hasn’t yet been constructed.
    • UPDATE: JCDA delays vote on water bond until after Oct. 16  sometime in January 2019
  • Rockwool still needs the city of Ranson to issue their building permits, including a vertical one for its towering 21-story smokestacks.  Ranson will not issue permits if there is no sewer or water connection.
  • The natural gas pipeline extension to the Rockwool site is not permitted or built.  

Beyond the unfinished business, and more importantly: both the Jefferson County Commission and the Jefferson County Board of Education are party to the Rockwool agreement.  Both the JCC and the JCBOE signed the PILOT AGREEMENT which gives Rockwool extensive tax breaks over the next ten years (and possibly beyond). This deal doesn’t happen without their agreement, urge them to rescind their support for the PILOT Agreement due to the lack of transparency throughout the process, especially regarding their impact on our air and water. 

If a simple majority of either the Jefferson County Commission or the Jefferson County School Board passes a resolution disapproving of Rockwool’s location next to schools, this project will not be politically viable.

Simply put, Rockwool is not going to build its smokestacks here if our local governments state clear opposition.

That’s right, either the Jefferson County Commission or the School Board can end this at their next meeting, if they have the political courage and public support.

We know many of our local officials feel misled about Rockwool’s pollution impact. Considering what we know today, how can any public official honestly tell the parents and teachers of North Jefferson Elementary that the school will be completely safe from the huge industrial operation across the street?  Taking a strong stance against Rockwool now, before it is built, is the right thing to do for our schools and community.

We have expanded this strategy to ask all Jefferson County elected officials to state their opposition to Rockwool, both individually and by public resolution.  Our municipalities can also instruct their representatives on the JCDA Board to vote against government subsidies for Rockwool infrastructure.

Harpers Ferry       UPDATE: Harpers Ferry Unanimously Opposes Rockwool!
Shepherdstown   UPDATE: Shepherdstown Unanimously Opposes Rockwool!
Charles Town

So let’s get to work.  Tell our City and Town Councils, our County Commissioners, and our School Board Members, individually and as a group, to please state their opposition to locating a massive heavy industrial facility so close to our children’s schools and the homes of citizens of Jefferson County.