The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has released a draft of the modified air permit for the Rockwool factory in Ranson. The window for public comment has been extended to October 23 (5 pm). Residents can send comments via email to Steven.R.Pursley@WV.gov or by mail to Steven R. Pursley, PE, WV Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air Quality, 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304.
The WVDEP held a public forum in Charles Town on September 19 to present a summary of the modifications. Some of the key elements of the modified permit are based around the company’s decision to use natural gas exclusively for the furnaces. The best practices mandated by federal regulations require lower emissions for natural gas facilities than they do for coal, so the permissible limits in the modified permit are lower than they were in the initial air permit. Another significant change is the requirement to use actual monitoring data at the point of emission (including the visible stacks of the factory) in place of modeled data based on regional measurements.
Dr. Chrissy Wimer, president of the Jefferson County Foundation, a local non-profit focused on supporting sustainable development and protecting the local environment, offered several specific requests to the WVDEP representatives during the September 19 forum, many of which were acknowledged and verbally accepted. The Foundation has assembled links to the proposed permit documents and a summary of questions and recommendations for the permit modifications on its website (JeffersonCountyFoundation.org).By Staff Contributor