Rockwool protesters turn up the heat, add young activists to their ranks

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — In West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, dozens of protestors turned out at the start of the weekend to voice their opposition to the Rockwool manufacturing facility, which is hiring in Jefferson County. Youth activists are leading the fight.

Protests against the Rockwool plant just outside Charles Town have been going on for years, but with hiring well underway, young environmental activists such as Kallan Benson are at the vanguard.

“This issue is just incredibly important to me,” said Benson. “I’m almost 17, so this is my future that we’re looking at.”

Benson is a Marylander, active in climate policy there. She wants to move to West Virginia and notes that the Mountain State facility will have an environmental impact in her home state and neighboring Virginia, both just across the county line.

Maura Ross just graduated college and is inspired by Benson.

“It’s great to see her and getting her message out from the young people getting involved,” Ross said. “And it is our future. We need to fight for it.”

Benson is committed to the crusade – she’s not letting up.

“For other activists in our community, we’ve heard a lot about Rockwool,” said Benson. “And being out here and supporting it is really important to us. It’s important to have this consistent action of being out here every week pushing them, making sure the community around us knows what’s going on.”

These protests are scheduled to continue on a weekly basis. Rockwool is a multinational corporation based in Denmark but chose this West Virginia site for its plant because of its strategic market location.

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