Patricia Stephenson

I am a single issue voter this year. Why? I care about many issues but this year my vote will be cast solely on the basis of whether a candidate will help us oppose Rockwool. They can believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy for all I care so long as they pledge to deliver us from evil. I live a mile from the Rockwool site.

I retired here 9 years ago and bought a farm that needed some serious fixing up. I super-insulated the house, used recycled, “green”, and “made in America” building materials, installed solar, installed a “cool” roof, an on-demand water heater, LED lighting, and energy star appliances. I installed a pellet stove so I could heat with biomass waste material instead of fossil fuel and made some modifications to the house to turn it into a passive solar design. How ironic. I’m a mile from the site.

I started a commercial garden. I got an organic certification. I grow my own organic food and contribute to the local food hub. In addition to selling at local farmers markets, groceries and restaurants I donate about 600 pounds of wholesome fresh organic produce to the food pantry every year. I’m a mile from the site.

I own a small spinning flock of sheep and alpaca and started a growing, thriving fiber arts business. Sheep and cattle have the same sensitivity to PM and VOCs as humans do. Lambs and calves are particularly sensitive. Their mortality mirrored that of humans during smog events. I’m a mile from the site.

Fortunately I do not have little kids or I would be even more upset. But I do have pristine WV land that is about to become polluted. I’m going to lose my organic certification for sure. I’ll never see even half the investment I made in building this place. I probably won’t have water for irrigation. My neighbors with COPD will suffer terribly (I have 3 nearby that I know have serious respiratory disease). I hear the heavy equipment all day long moving earth around in the orchard. If Rockwool builds their factory on my doorstep I’ll never again be able to see the stars because it will be all lit up 24/7. I’ll never hear the night sounds or experience the peace of this place because there will be trucks running in and out and all around all day and all night. If Rockwool wins, I lose – big time. I’ll leave my beloved farm rather than pay one cent more in taxes to Jefferson County. I’m a mile from the site.

I would like admin to add a section to the navigation bar called “tell your story”. If readers are so inclined, make it personal. Tell people, politicians, the media, and anyone who will listen why this is such a big deal for you. We are not paid to oppose Rockwool. We are not a bunch of hysterical soccer moms. We are being hurt badly and we need meaningful action by politicians who seek office this election year.