Hello World -- Here’s where things stand on the Rockwool situation.
Senator Manchin called me today on my cell around 12:30 pm. We agreed to get as many of the following stakeholders as possible at one time together:
- Jefferson Vision
- WV DEP
- Jefferson County Council
- City of Ranson
- City of Charles Town
Rockwool will not be represented.*
Senator Manchin understands that there were many anomalies in the site selection, marketing, zoning and permitting process, and possible improprieties. I made it clear that the costs of an eventual exit for Rockwool from our county will rise every day that construction continues. Our only goal, and the only thing we will talk about in the meeting, is ending the project as quickly as possible.
In order to do that, Joe needs the facts in front of him. He can’t be getting alternative facts from different sources.
Joe doesn’t have the power to stop construction, but he can help with negotiating a graceful exit. There are many places in West Virginia that would welcome the plant. There are coalfield redevelopment areas, infrastructure and industry.
There are also, possibly, federal sources of money that can help Rockwool, West Virginia and Jefferson County defray their costs.
He understands that some of the parties are suing each other. That will make some dialogue difficult, and some topics off the table. Our goal is to work toward an agreement, or settlement, between the parties. That might not be possible, but it’s a worthy goal.
We’re going to video the event so everyone can see the dialogue. It won't be live, but will be released in full afterwards.
Joe then connected me with his Chief of Staff. We worked through some more details.
After the calls I met with Tim Ross to go over his analysis of the air quality permit. The DEP work was a disaster. So many errors and issues. It’s very possible that Rockwool will lose their permit, which would halt construction.
In the evening, I met with a couple Jefferson Vision board members at Town Run. They are open to participating in the meeting, pending the details.
It seems at this point that Rockwool and JCDA can keep fighting and racking up costs in a fruitless battle, or they can settle. It’s still unclear to many citizens why JCDA and Ranson are so completely dug in. It also really doesn’t matter.
Either we will win after years of expensive litigation and disruptive protest, or we’ll all win by finding a better home for Rockwool. Maybe on a nice farm upstate…
We’re at an interesting moment. Jefferson County really turns out for elections. We could be the difference between winning and losing for Joe Manchin, and it’s going to turn on how much we all see Joe on our side, working to preserve our way of life. If he delivers for us, I’m sure we’ll deliver for him.
Because I know Senator Manchin, I’m confident he’ll deliver. He’s focused, driven and has a really big heart.
I’ll be working closely with Jefferson Vision and the whole CCAR Family to prepare for a great meeting where we’ll progress to our goal of stopping Rockwool and returning to our regularly scheduled program.
If you have no idea what this is about or why you’re here, read the following:
Senator Manchin had only one major quibble with my latest Forbes piece. He said he didn’t hire me for political reasons, he hired me because I was the smartest technical guy he’d ever met. He wants me to help him solve this. I committed to do just that.
*I had misunderstood our agreement. I learned from Pat Hayes, Senator Manchin's Chief of Staff, that Rockwool would be represented at the stakeholder meeting.