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.
One hundred years ago, underneath the Old Opera House in Charles Town, locals and tourists danced the night away beside a crystal-clear lake inside a cavern filled with orchestral tones. Today, the Lakeland Caverns cave is quiet, all entries sealed off from the public.
Appalachia is often viewed through a narrow lens. The stories of Black communities throughout the region are often left untold or simply overlooked. Acknowledging these communities and preserving their stories helps us to truly understand the broad patterns of the cultural landscape in which we live today.
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.
Shepherdstown resident Tracy Danzey grew up in the Parkersburg (WV) area, in a little town called Vienna—an idyllic childhood as she recalls, suburban and wooded, with plenty of time spent outdoors and, especially, in the water.
On October 23, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) will hold a public hearing on Rockwool’s applications for two stormwater permits. The hearing will begin at 6pm in the Storer Ballroom of the Shepherd University Student Center and will end at 8pm. Any citizen concerned about drinking water should come to this hearing.
Rockwool’s controversial arrival to Jefferson County was made more contentious upon news in late July that the Danish insulation company hired state Delegate Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) as its public affairs manager. After all, it wasn’t just any delegate, but precisely the one supposed to represent tens of thousands of constituents who do not want the company to build an insulation plant across the street from North Jefferson Elementary School and burn 92 tons of coal and 1.6 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day.
To me, the fight against the Mountaineer Gas pipeline and the Rockwool factory are not just related battles, they are both part of the same long struggle I’ve been part of for the past three years.
In April, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) announced in a press release that, due to a significant increase in both the number of students and the level of student needs served in the past decade—particularly, the intensive needs of students requiring special education services—they were moving forward with the development of a regional student support center to meet those needs in a way that creates a more positive and productive experience for students, families, and staff.
— Local activists continue to leave their mark.Going to jail as an act of non-violent direct action is completely different than going to jail under other circumstances. First, you are prepared to risk arrest, and you’re willing to face charges, if necessary, for a reason. Typically, people get arrested because they committed a crime, and […]
The Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project pipeline would, if built, run from Fulton county, PA, to Jefferson County, WV. The middle portion of the pipeline from Berkeley Springs, WV, to Martinsburg, WV, is almost complete. The portion of the pipeline through the state of Maryland, however, is still in the approval stage—construction has not begun. The terminus of the pipeline in Jefferson county, WV, would be the highly controversial, highly polluting insulation factory run by the Danish multinational, Rockwool. Eastern Panhandle Protectors opposes this proposed coal- and fracked-gas-fueled facility and the pipeline that would provide the gas.
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.
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.