Kira Young (from left) and David Levine take turns speaking at the Take A Stand Rally Thursday in Ranson.

Kira Young (from left) and David Levine take turns speaking at the Take A Stand Rally Thursday in Ranson.

MARTINSBURG — One of the most polarizing issues of 2019 for Jefferson County was the presence of the Rockwool plant in Ranson.

Rockwool, a Danish company that makes a variety of mineral wool products for both commercial and residential applications, began in April, garnering criticism from community members that claim emissions coming from the plant would be hazardous for the environment and those residing in Jefferson County.

However, there are community members that support the construction of Rockwool, claiming the plant will boost the economy in the Eastern Panhandle.

In April, the Jefferson County Board of Education allegedly told Rockwool that it had outstanding plans to construct a Regional Student Support Center, and the board offered to buy 194.7 acres of Rockwool’s property for $1,362,900. According to court documents, the board also threatened to condemn the property if the offer was rejected.

Rockwool then filed a motion in May for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to prohibit the board from taking “any further action in furtherance of its threat to condemn Rockwool’s property.”

Before numerous Jefferson County Board of Education meetings, residents would stand outside carrying signs expressing support for the board’s efforts to require the property where the Rockwool plant is being built for public use.

In July, Rockwool and the JCS BOE announced they settled all claims, and both parties were committed to moving forward in a joint collaboration.

There have been other lawsuits against Rockwool, including one in August from David Levine, who claimed Rockwool and Jefferson County Prosperity, among others, have “attacked and defamed” Levine for his involvement with anti-Rockwool protests and publications.

In September 2018, Twenty-third Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Hammer halted any further action toward a water project for the Rockwool stone-wool insulation plant that was sought in a lawsuit by Jefferson County Vision, a group formed because of the concerns over Rockwool’s impact on residents’ health and the environment, and Jefferson County resident Donald Sutherland and halted

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There have been many acts of protest against Rockwool. Tracy Danzey, of Shepherdstown, who had half of her pelvis and hip amputated in 2005, walked across Denmark from October to November to raise awareness and warrant action in response to Rockwool.

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