West Virginia operations of Denmark-based manufacturing firm questioned


RANSON, W.Va. (WDVM) — There is more controversy on the proposed mineral wool and building insulation factory here. Rockwool is under scrutiny from authorities in the company’s homeland, Denmark.

State and county officials say Rockwool is an economic development coup for West Virginia, in its thriving eastern panhandle. The international manufacturing concern is aggressively hiring, with plans for 150 new jobs by early next year. But the community is well organized against it, citing environmental concerns. And now the company’s headquarters country – Denmark – is falling in line with those opposing it, citing violations of international business standards. A West Virginia state legislator hopes his colleagues at the capitol in Charleston will intervene on pending air and water quality permits for the company.

“Any findings that the Danish government has might be incorporated in legislation that would prevent pollution in Jefferson County,” says Delegate John Doyle (D – Jefferson).

Rockwool maintains it is being a good corporate citizen, meeting environmental benchmarks. It just announced it will fuel its operations with cleaner fuel, natural gas, instead of coal. But opponents insist on renewable energy to prevent any carbon footprint whatsoever. And though the ground was broken over two years ago on the plant, the challenge to the company will persist.

“Jefferson County’s fight against Rockwool’s pollution is not yet over,” says Doyle. “In the immortal words of John Paul Jones, ‘we have just begun to fight.'”

Rockwool was invited to participate in a formal mediation on the concerns raised by Denmark but declined. WDVM reached out to Rockwool for a reaction to the investigation but have not heard back.

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