RANSON, W.Va. — Rockwool and the Jefferson County (W.Va.) Board of Education announced this week that they have settled all claims related to the stone-wool manufacturing site in Ranson and said both parties are committed to moving forward in a joint collaboration.
According to a press release shared to the official Rockwool Ranson Community Facebook page, the comprehensive settlement includes the “dismissal of the Jefferson County Board of Education’s state condemnation action, Rockwool’s Federal Court injunction as well as the BOE’s appeal of that injunction.”
No claims remain following the settlement of these previous actions.
In addition to the settlement of these previous actions and injunctions, the BOE and Rockwool said they have come to other terms in their effort to continue their collaboration.
“Rockwool reaffirms its commitment to fully fund an air monitoring program to run through Dec. 31, 2022, with the BOE agreeing to the installation of air monitors at North Jefferson and TA Lowery Elementary Schools,” the release said. “Further, Rockwool will contribute $250,000 toward the Board of Education’s purchase of a property for its proposed Regional Student Support Center.”
In court documents filed in the U.S. District court in the Northern District of West Virginia in April of this year, Rockwool detailed its intent for a lawsuit against the Jefferson County BOE stating that it “sought a declaration that the BOE’s threats to condemn the property sold to Rockwool is unlawful, an injunction preliminary and permanently enjoining the BOE from interfering with Rockwool’s property rights, and an award of its attorney’s fees and costs.”
The documents explained that the $150 million manufacturing plant had been recruited to the area by Ranson officials and state and county leaders and that during this recruitment process the BOE had offered Rockwool tax incentives if it agreed to build its new facility in Ranson.
The document goes on to say that Rockwool accepted the offer and entered into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement, or PILOT, with the BOE in October of 2017.
According to the court document, Rockwool then began site preparation in November of 2017, where it spent $47 million to date on permitting, constructing and extending utilities to its new facility.
The document goes on to say that on April 9, the BOE told Rockwool that it had outstanding plans to construct a Regional Student Support Center and offered to buy 194.7 acres of Rockwool’s property for “a fraction of what Rockwool has spent to develop it.”
The court documents said that if Rockwool rejected the offer, the BOE threatened to condemn the property.
Rockwool, as explained by the court filing, believed that the BOE had multiple options for property they already owned on which to construct this center but instead threatened to condemn Rockwool’s property.