Talking Points: Rockwool and Loudoun County

Just ten miles from Loudoun, Jefferson County is planning an extraordinarily toxic heavy industrial complex.

High-Pollution, Heavy Industry Complex Planned Ten Miles North of Loudoun County

  • Jefferson County, WV is planning a 463,000 square foot industrial facility to produce mineral wool insulation on 130 acres of an apple orchard near an elementary school

  • The company, a Danish multinational called Rockwool, entered Jefferson County county through a fast-tracked process that included  tax and infrastructure subsidies

  • This is Phase I for Rockwool and the company is already discussing expansion plans 

  • Jefferson County Development Board (JCDA) says it wants to create a large scale, heavy industrial zone in this agricultural and residential area in the heart of the county

  • There is a groundswell of local opposition to the project-- its location, process, pollution, intensity, and trucking footprint

  • The site is in preparation but doesn’t have a wastewater or building permit yet

  • Opponents have already won a local vote to delay issuing a bond for Rockwool’s proposed sewer line

  • The site is just 10 miles from Loudoun County

  • Rockwool’s industrial processes are extremely energy and chemical intensive.  The plant is permitted to emit a wide range of pollutants, including 6 known or suspected carcinogens, particulate matter, and ozone precursors

  • For hazardous Fine Inhalable Particulate Matter, PM 2.5, Rockwool is permitted to emit 133 tons/year.  That PM 2.5 level would rank it among the Top 15 of all industrial facilities in Virginia, according to EPA NEI data from 2014, the most recent year available  

  • For Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Rockwool is permitted to emit 470 tons/year.  That VOC level would rank it among the Top 10 of all industrial facilities in Virginia, according to EPA NEI data from 2014, the most recent year available  

  • Rockwool says the facility will have two 21 story smokestacks.  The stacks are tall so that the wind will “disperse” the pollutants throughout the region.  The prevailing winds from the site will often carry the pollution directly to Clarke and Loudoun counties.  Here are the prevailing winds from Martinsburg (the closest wind monitoring station we can find) for the first half of August 2018:  

  • Loudoun County is in nonattainment for ozone, so any ozone from Jefferson County can have a high marginal impact on Loudoun County air quality status

  • Jefferson County is historically and culturally connected to Loudoun County, but instead of building mutually beneficial economic connections between the two jurisdictions, Jefferson County is planning a disconnected heavy industry ecosystem that dumps air pollution across the region