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Letters for Thursday, July 24, 2014

• Don’t proceed with plan • Dairy’s own documents point to serious problems • Eliminating tax cap threatens home ownership

Don’t proceed with plan

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Board of Directors of Ulupono Initiative and is printed here at the author’s request.

Dear Pierre Omidyar, Pam Omidyar, Mike Mohr and Jeff Alvord,

I am writing to request that you look carefully at the project that is being proposed for Hawaii Dairy Farms at Mahaulepu in Kauai. Based on the stated objectives of Ulupono, this project is seriously deficient in design and execution, and it does not match the stated goals and objectives of your organization. I urge you to reconsider your plans.

I am a resident of Koloa and a retired senior executive. I am “pro-ag,” and I fully support the goal of making Kauai self sustaining in terms of food and energy. However, I have grave concerns about the size, scope and location of this project.

I am sure you are aware that Mahaulepu is a pristine area which is much beloved by residents and visitors alike. I do not understand how your organization can support a project that will put this area at risk, especially given the stated goals and objectives of Ulupono. It has been documented that the soil is clay and non- absorptive. It has been documented that the rainfall received in the valley is far greater than your team’s plan suggests. It has been documented that the New Zealand intensive farming model has caused great harm to NZ’s water systems.

This dairy, as currently conceived, will do irreparable harm to Mahaulepu and the surrounding community. The smell and flies will drive away tourists, harm the adjacent resort community, and impact jobs and property values. These likely outcomes seem completely inconsistent with your organization’s stated goals and objectives. So why would you wish to proceed with such an ill-conceived plan? I urge you to reconsider the size, scope, and location of this project.

Finally, I urge you to open communication with the community of stakeholders who cherish Mahaulepu. We want to understand the details, impacts, and risk assessments, not just broad-brush marketing pitches. We look forward to a robust dialog that is consistent with the true meaning of “ulupono.”

Respectfully,

Cornelia Boyle – Koloa

Dairy’s own documents point to serious problems

In the dairy’s new plan on file with the State Department of Health, HDF states: “It will also be sensible to dry the soil towards its minimum moisture level before November, December and January, as significant rainfall in these months is probable and could cause the soil to exceed capacity from rainfall alone.” (HDF’s Dairy Plan, pp. 39). 

It’s hard to believe that any operation who claims to be a “model for sustainability and environmental quality” (TGI, July 14, HDF’s Amy Hennesy), would think it prudent to bring 2,000 cows to graze on less than 30 acres per day on a soil type that they themselves know, is certain to reach saturation from rainfall alone. If already saturated by rain, where will the animal waste go ( more than 100 tons of manure and 16,000 gallons of urine every day)? 

By their own tables and soil studies, HDF reports that 260 acres of the farm’s soil are made up of poorly draining clay with a saturation level at less than one fifth of an inch per hour. Another 60 acres are a combination of poorly draining and other soil types. When rain events (known to occur in Mahaulepu well outside the November-January time frame mentioned) exceed the soil saturation points, you will have an astonishing volume of rain runoff combined with urine and 100s of tons of manure running to the ditches and streams, off the property, and into the ocean. 

With water table depths ranging from just 24” to 80,” it’s not difficult to imagine how quickly the groundwater will become contaminated as well (see table, page 12 HDF Plan). And this is not even considering the bacteria content the runoff and/or drainage will carry. In response to the gentleman who suggested that the dairy should just “be given a chance to prove they can be a going concern and control pollution at the same time,” (Garden Island, Courtroom Has Final Say, July 21)) HDF’s own documents establish the reality of the pollution that is certain to occur.

Ronald John – Sacramento, California

Eliminating tax cap threatens home ownership

No homeowner should be walloped with the sorts of property tax increases described in TGI’s headline article on July 23 (Tax Shocker).  Such steep year-to-year increases threaten home ownership for many, especially those on fixed incomes. By eliminating the cap on property tax increases along with the Permanent Home Use tax credit, the County Council undermined the security of home ownership for many.  The cap should be restored, or a sliding scale of caps across real property categories should be implemented. 

Newton Copp – Princeville

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