After the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice on November 5, 2020 that it was authorizing the Rockwool stone wool insulation manufacturing facility in Ranson to operate under a general water pollution control permit, the Jefferson County Foundation noted that the source water protection area map submitted as part of the facility’s application process marked only 4 drinking water wells within the one mile buffer zone.
The Rockwool factory in Ranson has been encountering some rocky roads as of late and the fight to keep them from their final destination continues.
Last month, The Observer attempted to tell the basic story behind the arrival of the Rockwool plant to Jefferson County. Now we’re taking the opportunity to allow one representative from each side to say their piece.
Polluted air and water, mass extinctions, depleted fisheries, shrinking forests, rising temperatures—humans are making a mess of the planet. But all is not lost (at least yet): “Solutions” is the theme of this year’s American Conservation Film Festival.
When all the posting, researching, explaining, presenting, disputing, articulating, organizing, mobilizing, etc., is stripped away, it looks like this: one group of people—Rockwool Group North America, the JCDA, and the City of Ranson—wants to bring what has been determined to be an economic opportunity to Jefferson County; another group—mostly Jefferson County citizens and larger groups therein—doesn’t want it here. They each have a story to tell; they each have been attempting to tell that story vigorously for the last month or more.
Coal is the word on everyone’s lips right now, especially in West Virginia. What began as a thriving solution for powering America so many years ago has become an unsustainable industry that has been steadily declining for several decades.