RANSON W.Va. — State Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey lives in Jefferson County and said recently on MetroNews “Talkline” he plans to take a stance on the controversial Rockwool plant before the Nov. 6 General Election, if all of the facts are in.
“I’ll be back home on Election Day voting and I am going to make it clear on where we are. If I have all the information, I am going to come out and make a statement. We’re going to keep taking a close look at this.”
The controversy about the plant has been growing in recent months. Morrisey said he’s been studying it.
“I’ve been looking deep into this issue,” Morrisey said on ‘Talkline’. “As the attorney general, I have to act when things are lawful and or unlawful. We have to dig deep into it and ask was everything done the right way, is this proper? As I learn this information, I will speak out strongly on it.”
“The people of Jefferson County, they know me pretty well, they know I am going to speak out. I want to get to the bottom of it. I’ve had conversations with people who are supporters of Rockwool and people who oppose Rockwool and rest assured, we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
In July of 2017, Rockwool announced the construction of the $150 million plant, which will be used for manufacturing stone wool insulation. Construction is set to be done by early 2020.
There has been a public outcry against the construction of the plant due to possible health concerns, mainly pollution and the proximity of the plant to several schools. The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved permits for the facility and has said it will continue to monitor the facility.
“I want to see what wasn’t told,” Morrisey said. “Was there information that was not provided that citizens should have been made aware of?”
“We have certain authorities you can act on then the state DEP is charged with most of the specifics of the environmental compliance. We are looking to see if there weren’t any i’s that were dotted or t’s that weren’t crossed. At a minimum, that would inform my position on what would happen there.”
Rockwool has said a delay in the project would cause the company to suffer “great economic injury.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who is running against Morrisey, has said he’s interested in working with both federal and local agencies to come to an agreement with area citizens. In September, Manchin wrote a letter to the acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking him to support discussions between the Jefferson County Board of Education and Rockwool to come up with a solution.
Manchin attended the plant’s groundbreaking.
“They asked me to come and I said ‘sure, I’m always happy to come’. No one said a word. Everything was fine and we were happy to have them. They were going through all of the processes and the permits were all in place. So I never heard a word and then, later on, it became such a real concern for a lot of people thinking they didn’t know about this.”
Morrisey said Manchin is treating the issue like he does other controversial issues.
“Joe Manchin is on both sides of this issue. He was for Rockwool, then he was against it, then he was for it. That’s just classic Manchin,”
Manchin and Morrisey are expected to debate Rockwool and other topics Thursday. The debate will be hosted by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association in the MetroNews studios in Morgantown and will be moderated by ‘Talkline’ host Hoppy Kercheval.
The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the MetroNews channel at wvmetronews.com.