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Rockwool Proposal Draws Criticism and West Virginia Constitutional Challenge

Rockwool, a Danish stone wool insulation manufacturing company, is facing local opposition over its plans to open a facility in Jefferson County, W.Va. The company claims it will employ between 140 and 150 people.

Rockwool was brought into Jefferson County through an agreement with the Jefferson County Development Authority, an economic development group. However, nonprofit community advocacy organization Jefferson County Vision is actively opposing the plant through their campaign Concerned Citizens Against Rockwool. On their website toxicrockwool.com, the organization states that “Rockwool’s plans would make it West Virginia’s second largest emitter of volatile organic compounds,” including six known or suspected carcinogens.

Rockwool’s agreement with the economic development group requires the county government to take ownership of the company’s plant after it is built and eventually lease it back to Rockwool. While the company would be making small lease payments to the government, they would not pay any taxes during the facility’s first five years.

In September, Jefferson County Vision filed a lawsuit against the Jefferson County Development Authority claiming the agreement violates the West Virginia Constitution, which states that all taxation must be uniform. — By Jamie Tews

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