Opinion

Let’s separate latest K2 news from its pot history | Editorial

The time K2 was almost purchased by a marijuana edibles company is fast becoming a memory for Vashon, as other cities with legal marijuana business take over news headlines. But when the topic of EdiPure and K2 does come up, either as the butt of a joke or in serious conversation, memories of the divisiveness the issue brought to our island community can still feel fresh.

This month there was news of a ripple effect of that tumultuous time on Vashon. Many will remember how the Backbone Campaign and its director Bill Moyer led an effort to get the K2 site into the state’s toxics cleanup program, something the organization hoped would prove whether adequate environmental testing has been done there and create a path for addressing any pollution. Some, however, criticized the Backbone Campaign and accused Moyer of simply wanting to hinder the marijuana company, adding another layer to the K2 dispute. EdiPure has been out of the picture for months now, but K2 has just entered the state’s cleanup program, possibly because it anticipated a recent town plan amendment. It’s still a welcome turn of events for the Backbone Campaign, which months ago circulated a petition demanding that K2 enter the program.

Supporters of marijuana at K2, however, shouldn’t dismiss this development. Amidst the tensions of last winter, Moyer went public with a document by an established Seattle company that claims there were in fact significant gaps in the environmental testing K2 did at its former factory site. It said work is needed to understand if there is any significant pollution there. This is testing that K2 provides to potential buyers showing the property is overall in good shape. Now, experts at the state will soon weigh in on K2’s testing and say definitively what should be done, if anything, to satisfy state environmental standards.

It’s possible there is no other contamination at K2 outside of some oil that’s been known about for years. It’s also possible more testing would tell a different story. Would pollution there actually threaten our groundwater, as many on Vashon have feared? It’s hard to know. But it’s worth finding out what a history of fiberglass ski production may have left behind at the site on Vashon Highway. K2 and its parent company, a corporate conglomerate named Jarden, have said they want to be responsible for any environmental issues there. They clearly want to do whatever they can to sell the site, so let’s let them. Islanders should remain open to what the state says about K2 and wait to form an opinion about the company’s responsibility at the property until more is known. K2 may not have the site forever, but Vashon will.

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