Purcellville Becomes Sixth Loudoun Town to Oppose Rockwool

Every Loudoun town except for one has now passed a resolution expressing their opposition to the construction of the Rockwool plant in Ranson, WV.

The Purcellville Town Council Tuesday night voted unanimously to pass a resolution requesting Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10), Sen. Dick Black (R-27), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10), Del. David LaRock (R-33), County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At large) and Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) to “take any and all action, to include legal action, to bring an immediate halt to the construction of the Rockwool facility until a more comprehensive study of the impact on Virginia has been completed.”

Purcellville is now the sixth Loudoun town to pass a resolution in opposition to the 460,000-square-foot plant, where the Danish company will melt rock to spin into mineral wool insulation. It will be Rockwool’s fourth plant in North America, with two already in Canada and one in Mississippi, and will be located about 20 miles away from the town and only six miles from the Loudoun border.

According to Purcellville’s iteration of the resolution, the 392 annual tons of hazardous air pollution that the State of West Virginia has allowed the plant to emit through its rock melting and mineral wool insulation spinning process could be carried by the wind into Loudoun and Purcellville, which could “harm its citizens’ health, degrade its agricultural products, inhibit and discharge tourism and devalue its citizens’ quality of life and property values.”

“Prevailing winds are going to bring it right into our backyard,” said Councilman Ted Greenly, the council liaison for the town’s Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee.

The town is now calling for local and state legislators to take action to stop the plant’s construction until a study of its impact on Loudoun’s air quality, drinking water and ground water sources has been completed.

Purcellville’s resolution differs from that of most other Loudoun towns in that it does not explicitly call for legislators to take “any and all legal action” to halt the plant’s construction.

Councilman Tip Stinnette said that the Board of Supervisors is “quite limited” in its ability to take legal action against the plant’s construction and has done all it can up to this point.

Hillsboro was the first Loudoun town to pass a similar resolution on Oct. 29, followed by Hamilton on Dec. 10, Leesburg on Dec. 11 and Middleburg on Dec. 13.

While Round Hill passed its own on Jan. 3, the Town Council opted to omit any language calling for legal action to halt the plant’s construction. It instead calls for legislators to push for local, state and federal enforcement of environmental regulations.

Loudoun Against Rockwool co-founder Keri Fornino said that her group plans to give the Town of Lovettsville a presentation at its Jan. 24 meeting so that it can pass a similar resolution in February.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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