By Kate Mishkin, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Jefferson County judge threw out a lawsuit Friday over Rockwool, the controversial manufacturing plant being built in the county, with both sides declaring victory.
The lawsuit, filed in November, had said the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement was unconstitutional and that Rockwool should pay the same ad valorem taxes every other taxpayer is responsible for.
On Friday, Circuit Court Judge David Hammer said he couldn’t rule on the PILOT because it was merely a proposal, not a binding agreement.
“This ruling is an important step toward restoring our local democracy and removing Rockwool from our community once and for all,” said Shaun Amos, a member of Jefferson County Vision, the nonprofit citizens group that filed the lawsuit in November.
But Michael Zarin, a spokesman for Rockwool, the company building the coal- and gas-fired manufacturing plant, also said the company is happy with the decision.
“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed the JCV PILOT lawsuit and that the court recognizes the broad authority that West Virginia development authorities have to offer economic incentives, including PILOT agreements,” Zarin said. …
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