RANSON – A West Virginia environmental nonprofit group, with support from four Jefferson County public officials and five other nonprofit groups, has filed a complaint with a Denmark-based mediation organization, hoping to negotiate environmental assurances and safeguards at Rockwool’s insulation factory under construction on the outskirts of Ranson.
The complaint submitted Monday by the West Virginians for Sustainable Development (WVSD) alleges, according to a press release from the nonprofit group serving the Eastern Panhandle and other regions of West Virginia, that Rockwool has neglected “recommended principles and standards of conduct associated with good corporate citizenship” while developing its factory near Kearneysville.
In a 109-page filing, WVSD is foremost asking the Danish-based manufacturer to shut down and abandon its $150 million factory set to open next fall, said Rod Snyder, chairman of the environmental group that advocates environmentally sustainable development and a lifelong Jefferson County resident. However, if Rockwool does not abandon the factory, WVSD and its allies hope to achieve 14 “remedies” for Rockwool’s stone wool insulation facility, Snyder said.
Those demands include asking Rockwool to operate the Ranson factory with an electric furnace rather than a coal-fired furnace to conduct an independent human health risk analysis of the factory’s safety to Jefferson County residents and to reapply for a state emissions permit “using complete and accurate data sources,” according to an WVSD press release.
Individuals signing the complaint include delegates John Doyle and Sammi Brown, both Democrats serving Jefferson County, and Jefferson County commissioners Jane Tabb, a Republican, and Ralph Lorenzetti, a Democrat. Leesburg, Va., Town Council member Neil Steinberg also signed the complaint.
Other organizations that signed the complaint include the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, the West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.
Rockwool spokesman Michael Zarin said the company could not comment on the complaint because it had not received any formal notification of it.
Snyder said the Danish mediation group should decide within two weeks whether or not to accept the complaint and assist with negotiations with Rockwool.