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Letter to the Editor: Rockwool: Financial Questions and Other Considerations

By Staff | Sep 7, 2018

I have lived in Jefferson County since 1975, and live within one mile of the Rockwool plant. Neither I nor any of my neighbors were contacted or notified about the plant.

I have a number of questions about the Rockwool plant being built in Ranson. I asked the JCCC the following questions, but did not receive an answer and was told to contact the city of Ranson.

1: Is the city, county, state or Rockwool required by law, permitting procedures or agreements to provide information about the plant to the residents living within in a certain distance of the plant before permits are issued or construction started? Do the required notifications include the schools and School Boards which will be affected by the plant?

2: What will be the total cost to the City, County and State, initially and long term, to bring the Rockwool plant to the County and to support its lifelong operations and is this information included in environmental or economic impact statements ?

3: What is the estimated total income to the City, County and State that the plant will generate during the life of the plant operations?

4: Is there an estimate on the reduction, or increase in income the plant will cause during its lifelong operations from the present income producing activates, such as a tourism, recreational, historical, cultural, agricultural, horse racing and cattle raising and other agricultural activities?

5: Who will pay for the clean up from accidental emissions and spills and the final restoration of the site once the plant’s lifelong operations end?

6: Has Rockwool set up a dedicated fund and how much is in the fund to pay for the environmental clean up activities?

7: Will the PILOT Agreement, or any other agreements between the City, County and State, result in these entities and not Rockwool, being responsible for costs’ association with the environmental restoration activities?

8: Using the above information, will the construction and lifelong operation of the plant result in a financial benefit or a financial burden to the City and County?

JCDA has called for additional independent Health and Water studies and the JCBoE has called for an independent Human Health Risk Assessment. Requesting these additional studies after the permits and approvals were issued indicates how inadequate and unacceptable the original applications were.

The responsible, ethical and appropriate course of action for the City or County to take is to stop the construction of the plant now, pending the completion of the additional studies..

A County referendum should then be held, based on the financial, health and safety impact on the community, to let the residents decide whether to restart construction and complete the plant or not to build the plant.

A referendum was held to decide on the casino in Charles Town. The Rockwool plant will have a greater negative environmental impact and possibly less positive economic impact on the community than the casino. Whether it is built therefore should be decided by a referendum.

Thank you,

Gavin A. Perry, of Shenandoah Junction