Letter: Pot farm can’t continue
I wish to express my deep concerns about the strong odors and emissions from the High Valley Farms marijuana-growing facility, located on Highway 82 across from the Holland Hills neighborhood in Basalt. The odors are affecting the quality of life in the area as they permeate the outdoor air and enter our homes so there is no escape. They also adversely affect every driver, biker, golfer and hiker who passes through on Highway 82 and the Rio Grande Trail.
Not only are the foul odors and the chemicals that cause them concerning but also the use of additional chemicals and other proposed odor-remediation techniques. Ill effects from exposure in the environment to these various chemicals and processes can take years before the seriousness of the exposure is fully known. So what are the long-term risks of being exposed to these highly reactive chemical agents that can indiscriminately interact with whatever they contact including wildlife, plant life and area residents?
This health risk is especially concerning when considering the very young, the elderly, those with weakened health and pregnant women. I feel that the neighborhood residents should not be subjected to this exposure, as we do not want to accept such unknown risks to our health. Please ask yourself, what amount of these chemicals would you want to be exposed to on a daily basis?
At the Pitkin County commissioners’ board meeting on Aug. 11, the owner indicated he did not know what was in the chemicals but that it was “organic.” Unfortunately, “organic” does not necessarily mean safe, as some things can be “organic” and be toxic. I am also concerned that presently, an impartial independent company is not performing any emissions testing. Self-reporting allows the opportunity to be selective when and where tests are performed. An independent company that reports directly to the Pitkin County commissioners should perform any tests.
Lastly, the abatement is reliant upon a mechanical process, so how often and how long will the machines break down, once again subjecting the community to the odors? This could be a continuous problem for years to come. If these emissions are allowed to continue, they could limit the future development in the area, reduce current and future property values and inhibit other businesses locating to our area.
We sympathize with the owners’ financial loss to have to relocate, but it was a risk they should have foreseen when choosing this site across from an existing thriving residential community and golf course. We are here for the clean, fresh mountain air and a healthy lifestyle and do not want to be exposed to potentially toxic chemicals.
Thus, the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners should remedy the wrong and not renew High Valley Farms’ license at its Sept. 23 meeting and permanently shut down this facility.