Rockwool representatives taking part in Huntington lunch to explain economic impact

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Representatives of Rockwool will attend a lunch hosted by the Huntington Regional Chamber to discuss the company’s plant in Jefferson County and the long-term impact in West Virginia.

The Denmark-based company is on track to complete construction of its insulation production facility by mid-2020, despite the controversy surrounding the possible environmental impact of the facility.

Michael Zarin, Rockwool’s vice president for group communications, said it is important for the company to explain how its launch in the Eastern Panhandle will impact the state’s economy.

“Rockwool has a very long-term perspective when we invest in a new factory or a new community,” he said. “We anticipate being in this for the duration and being a major player in the business community not only in Jefferson County but the state as a whole, and it’s important for us to build relationships and get familiar with the bigger picture scheme of things in the West Virginia business community.”

The plant has been a point of controversy; residents have voiced concerns over the possible environmental impact given the facility’s proximity to three schools.

Rockwool announced in January it is committed to independently complete a human health risk assessment, which the Jefferson County Board of Education criticized.

But Zarin said people have also voiced optimism about the incoming tax revenue and job opportunities related to the facility.

“We’re looking forward to beginning operations there, continuing the project, being a member of the community,” he said. “We know some are not going to welcome us entirely, but the hope and the expectation is over time, more and more people will say, ‘This is a pretty good neighbor after all.'”

A protest is planned for outside of the St. Mary’s Conference Center — where the luncheon will be held — in opposition to the Rockwool plant.