RANSON — Despite facing an investigation from a Danish organization, officials at Rockwool said late Monday that they are confident the mineral and wool plant in Ranson will be able to open in spring 2021 as planned.
That commitment came after NCP Denmark, the Danish Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct, received a complaint submitted by a group of community organizations and officials that Rockwool allegedly violated Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines while planning and constructing the Ranson facility.
Originally filed in October of last year, the complaint, which was submitted by West Virginians for Sustainable Development, focused on air-quality risks, water-quality risks and political improprieties. It also called for the company to immediately end construction of the Ranson facility.
Among the remedies the group proposed to keep the plant up and running were reconsideration of the factory’s air-quality permit, an agreement to operate under appropriately protective water discharge requirements, independent human health and environmental risk assessments and additional air- and water-quality monitoring.
Yet even as the company faces the complaint and subsequent investigation, Michael Zarin, Rockwool’s vice president of group communications, said late Monday that the business intends to proceed on schedule.
“We are entirely confident that we have planned and are executing the project respecting all local and international requirements,” Zarin said. “Factory construction is well under way, and we are pleased to see significant interest in employment and economic development opportunities from the local community. We look forward to starting up operations in the spring 2021.
“In our view,” he continued, “NCP provides a valuable service both for large multinational enterprises like us, as well as local organizations like the counterpart. In addition to evaluating if a company has observed relevant guidelines, their ultimate purpose is to help parties resolve disputes and help companies to observe the relevant guidelines. For example, at the end of an investigation, they could make recommendations for how a company could do better in the future. It’s not about penalties or sanctions. It’s about resolving disputes, observing guidelines and of course, always trying to do better.”
NCP Denmark is independent from the Danish government and, in the case of Rockwool, is looking to see if there are elements of the WVSD complaint for which it has enough information to decide that Rockwool has observed the relevant guidelines. In all, the investigation is a process of narrowing the scope of what any subsequent formal investigation phase would pursue.
In a statement released last week, Rod Snyder, chairman of WVSD, stressed…