Jefferson County Residents Hold First Rockwool Construction Site Protest

May 17, 2019

More than 200 protesters rallied at the construction site of the Rockwool plant in Ranson, Jefferson County.

Hundreds of people opposed to Rockwool organized a three-hour protest at the construction site this week.

Rockwool is a Denmark-based manufacturing company that produces stone wool insulation. It’s an alternative to other insulation, such as fiberglass, and it’s touted as ‘green.’ But the way it’s produced is by burning down basalt rock and recycled slag.

A large portion of Jefferson County residents and those from nearby areas have been protesting the plant for the past year citing health concerns; the main one being for students at an elementary school less than a mile away.

Residents in Jefferson County rally at the construction site of the Rockwool plant in Ranson, W.Va. on May 16, 2019.
Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The protest was organized by the group Resist Rockwool. David Levine, who is the former president of the group, said Rockwool has recently begun vertical construction.

“And [Rockwool believes] that if they show that the walls are going up fast, and this is happening, and this is happening, then at some point we’re going to give up, but hell, walls have fallen down. We’re not going away.”

Rockwool broke ground in June of last year. Since then, there have been several pending lawsuits filed from opposition groups, rallies and an overall division within communities in the Eastern Panhandle.

**Editor's Note: This story was corrected on May 20, 2019 to reflect David Levine's role in the Resist Rockwool group.