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Letters for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Previous dairy farm on Kauai closed down‘Right to Farm’ all wrong for KauaiBeaches should be for people, not carsSenator needs to listen to educators

Previous dairy farm on Kauai closed down

Reading Ronald John’s guest commentary in The Garden Island (Jan. 16) regarding the proposed 2,000-plus cow dairy farm reminded me of the former Meadow Gold dairy farm in Moloaa. This 400-cow dairy farm was shut down in the year 2000. At the time, Meadow Gold stated that the shutdown was for cost and regulatory reasons.

A little online research reveals that Meadow Gold was threatened with a lawsuit by an adjacent property owner for violation of the Federal Clean Water Act. The neighbor claimed that the dairy’s urine was polluting the ground water and adversely affecting his property.  

A complicated suit involving a lease with a third party ensued. However, the crux of the matter appears to have been the failure of Meadow Gold to provide a containment facility, as required by federal law, to prevent discharge of the dairy’s pollutants even in the event of a 25-year, 24-hour rainfall.  

It appears that the cost of such a containment facility was much greater than what the dairy’s revenue justified and thus the shutdown of the dairy. Furthermore, it can be assumed that the proposed new 2,000-plus cow dairy would be required to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act and thus provide a means of preventing urine from entering into any ground water, streams or the ocean.

As Ronald John points out, this proposed dairy will result in a huge volume of urine. Let us hope that the new dairy’s business plan budgets an appropriate compliant containment facility and that our county, state and federal regulators are there to ensure that it is indeed implemented before dairy operations start.

Peter Nilsen

Princeville

‘Right to Farm’ all wrong for Kauai

We have been farming on Kauai since 1979. We presently farm on 11 acres, which we own, and we manage another 20 acres. We have been members of the Farm Bureau since 1981 and have participated in various projects with KCFB.

 We are outraged that “The Right to Farm” is being used as a smoke screen to mask the real intent of proposed pre-emption legislation (HB2506 and SB3508) which is obviously intended to usurp the rights of the counties. The ability of the counties to protect the health of residents and prevent damage to the environment from commercial, industrial or agricultural practices should be honored and vigorously upheld by the state.

 What are these “modern farming practices” that our representatives appear to value over the rights of their electorate? The message appears to be coming from multinational, megabillion dollar chemical companies who are abusing Hawaii’s resources for huge financial gain. These companies do not contribute to food sovereignty. Much of their labor force is imported. They do not produce crops for sale, and therefore, they contribute little support to state or county tax coffers. Why are our representatives rushing to protect this industry? Misinformation about the new laws on Kauai (Ordinance 960) and Hawaii Island (Ordinance 13-121) has been spread by those claiming to represent agriculture and this has aroused fear in local farmers and ranchers. However, many of us are not confused or fearful, but we are sure as heck angry that farming and farmers are being misrepresented by some who claim to be the “voice of agriculture.”

 Do not be confused. Do not support this legislation.

 

The Wooton Family

Bob, Louis, Ryan, and Sarah Wooton

Kilauea

Beaches should be for people, not cars

Why is the county and/or state continuing to allow vehicles to drive and park on our beaches? When I inquired last year, a county official replied that this practice is not condoned by the county. However, nothing is being done to stop it. Hanalei Bay to the right of the pier is a parking lot as is Kealia’s north end. Both these locations could easily be blocked off to vehicles, making it safer for our keiki and return the beaches to the peaceful state many of us remember.

Let’s take better care of our beaches. Trucks racing down the beach have already caused casualties on several occasions. This is a problem that could easily be solved by blocking beach access and by beach lovers being more aware that parking off the beach makes it better for everyone.

Savitri Kumaran

Kapaa

Senator needs to listen to educators

I was disappointed that there was little mention of what teachers thought about the lengthening of the school year proposed by Sen. David Ige in “Saved by the Bell … eventually” in Monday’s Garden Island paper.

 Changes in instructional time don’t necessarily increase or decrease student achievement. Sen. David Ige would do better by proposing a bill to help support teachers, providing schools with proper funding and improving instructional quality, all of which will have a greater impact on our students’ learning. It must be noted that any increases in the length of the school year needs to be negotiated through collective bargaining with teachers. Teachers are the experts in our schools and with our students. They need to be consulted and have a say in what happens in our schools. In place of lawyers, bank presidents and politicians dictating and proposing bills or school reforms to score political points or doing what they “guess” is best for students and our schools, they need to consult with teachers first. Together, we can improve our schools and help our students shine.

Michael Kline

National Board Certified Teacher

Kilauea School

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