CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — A lawsuit filed over a state incentive for the controversial Rockwool manufacturing facility in Jefferson County was tossed out of court Friday.
The suit claimed Rockwool’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the state was unconstitutional. Circuit Judge David Hammer said Friday he could not rule on the question because the PILOT was only a proposal and not a binding agreement.
Under the agreement the Jefferson County Development Authority held title to the 130 acre Ranson site where the plant is under construction. In lieu of paying state property taxes, Rockwool would have paid in the Development Authority under what would have essentially been a lease agreement.
The city of Ranson, Jefferson County School Board, Sheriff, Assessor, and the County Commission signed onto the Pilot agreement. It was one of several incentives state development officials used to land the manufacturing facility.
“Absent the JDCA’s assent evidenced by a vote of its board, the PILOT is not an enforceable agreement — it is merely a proposal,” Hammer wrote in his order.
Originally Rockwool was welcomed into the community and plans to produce stone wool insulation material made from coal and natural gas. However, opponents are now trying to stop the plant’s development for fear of the emissions and by products the plant will produce and pollute the area.