The Danish Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct (NCP Denmark) has announced a formal investigation into the actions of Danish multinational enterprise Rockwool in respect to its proposed mineral wool factory in Ranson, West Virginia.
The complaint alleges that the Denmark-based company has violated the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
In accordance with its complaints-handling procedure, NCP Denmark conducted a preliminary investigation and determined that it cannot dismiss that non-observance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises has taken place in Rockwool’s planning and construction of the factory. Rockwool has rejected mediation between the parties.
NCP Denmark has moved to a final investigation in the case, which will continue through early 2021.
The complaint, which was originally filed in October 2019, focuses on three primary areas of concern – air quality risks, water quality risks and political improprieties – associated with the proposed Rockwool factory in Ranson.
The complainants are seeking an immediate end to construction of the factory.
Alternatively, the coalition seeks more than a dozen remedies related to the environmental and health risks of Rockwool’s proposed West Virginia facility, including reconsideration of the factory’s air quality permit, agreement to operate under appropriately protective water discharge requirements, independent human health and environmental risk assessments, and additional air and water quality monitoring.
NCP Denmark is a non-judicial institution that enables companies, organizations, and public authorities to resolve disagreements regarding infringements of human rights, international environmental standards, or corruption.
“We are pleased that NCP Denmark believes this case merits further consideration. While we wish that Rockwool would have accepted the offer of mediation, we welcome the formal investigation into the company’s business practices in Jefferson County, West Virginia,” said Rod Snyder, chair of West Virginians for Sustainable Development. “Local citizens have been working tirelessly for two years to have a meaningful say in economic development decisions in our community. Our primary goal is to achieve an outcome that is significantly more protective of air, water, and the health and safety of our children and families in Jefferson County and the surrounding region.”
The complaint is co-signed by West Virginia Delegate John Doyle, West Virginia Delegate Sammi Brown, Jefferson County Commissioner Jane Tabb, Jefferson County Commissioner Ralph Lorenzetti, Leesburg Town Council Member Neil Steinberg, Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Potomac Valley Audubon Society, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, and West Virginians for Sustainable Development.
In total, more than thirty community organizations and municipalities have formally opposed the Rockwool factory in Ranson since its groundbreaking in the summer of 2018.