Sending a "Welcome" Letter to Rockwool

We pen a letter to the Rockwool executives in town to try to save their toxic project.

August 8, 2018

Dear Rockwool Executives:

Welcome to Jefferson County! If we had known you were coming to Ranson yesterday, we’d have arranged a more spirited greeting.

While you are here, please explore our beautiful county. We are the “wild and wonderful” gateway to the state of West Virginia. We are rooted deeply in American history, while growing successfully today as part of the greater capital metro area. We absolutely love this place and its people, and we are working tirelessly to protect our community from harm.

Your industrial site is nestled in the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, a primarily residential and agricultural community with a long equestrian tradition. Tourism thrives here, and we fear your plant and its 21 story smokestacks would become the dominating, defining feature of our valley’s landscape.

Just six miles east of Rockwool is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It offers 19th-century buildings and spectacular views, of which Thomas Jefferson wrote, “This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” Definitely take it in. On hot summer days, how much would your plant’s haze and ozone diminish those views?

At Harpers Ferry, the Shenandoah River merges with the Potomac River. We recommend tubing or kayaking on either. The Potomac also provides drinking water for millions of people as it heads out to the Chesapeake Bay. We need to know a lot more about the ways your pollution might impact our rivers and underground water sources.

As you head then towards the Rockwool site, about four miles out you’ll pass areas where the county plans to build new schools as we grow. Will people really continue to move here to live next to a toxic, global-scale industrial facility? Emitting known and suspected cancer-causing chemicals and other hazards?

And of course within just two miles of Rockwool are four schools, with thirty percent of our student population. Drive by those schools. Understand their proximity, the surrounding agricultural and residential environment, and the absurdity of locating Rockwool here. Think about the kids who will spend their entire developing youth, from elementary, middle through high school, within two miles of Rockwool. On playgrounds breathing air pollution from a plant that would send profits overseas and drive jobs away from Jefferson County. It isn’t going to happen.

We suspect this was all a big misunderstanding caused by a rushed and secretive process. Our political leaders didn’t understand your operations and you didn’t understand our community. Well, since you’re here, we want to provide some clarity now.

Jefferson County does not support Rockwool’s plans here. We don’t support your plant, your pollution, your trucking, your tax breaks. None of it makes a lick of sense. We are going to fight Rockwool with everything we have, in every possible political, legal, and media venue. If Rockwool Ranson is somehow built, we will in turn use every tool available to stop your operations, block your expansion plans, and shut you down.

We’re in this for the long haul, just so we’re clear.

In the meantime, there’s no hard feelings, and we encourage you to get out there. Nearby are great restaurants, a casino, the state’s third largest university, boutique shops, nature hikes, art galleries, and many historic sites. We hope you enjoy your visit.

Regards, 5,400 and growing Facebook members Citizens Concerned About Rockwool Ranson