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.
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.
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.
On March 26, Delegate Sammi Brown and I met with Scott Mandirola, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and DEP General Counsel Jason Wandling. We met with them to urge the DEP to make good on its promise to hold a public hearing on the natural gas pipeline coming to Jefferson County.
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.
The City of Charles Town officially christened a new nature park housed on a former brownfield site and kicked off the first piece of a large-scale project in its urban center.