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Dairy petition sees strong support

Mahalo Nui Loa to Garden Island managing editor Tom Hasslinger and environmental writer Chris D’Angelo for the excellent front page story, Jan.1 “Group steps up efforts to stop dairy.”

Hundreds of delighted visitors were refreshed by the elevating music of Kauai violinists, Kimberly McDonough, 20, and Olivia Gegen, 13, which they performed from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors expressed hopes that the soft sounds of local Hawaiian talent could be showcased more often in the park on special occasions.

Visitors from all over the world were happy to sign the petition to Gov. Ige to stop the proposed industrial dairy farm from being installed near the pristine beaches of Mahaulepu. Visitors from Madagascar, New Zealand, California and Washington reported that industrial dairy farming has turned once clean, white, sandy beaches into stinking, black, fly-ridden, manure-polluted shores. Pollution warning signs warn that the beaches are not safe for human use. We don’t want this to happen to Mahaulepu and the Poipu area.

We, and many of the visitors we spoke with, hope that the Poipu tourism operators will think long range and focus their sense of responsibility and their actions to preserve the clean air, water and land that their future guests require and expect. Their loyalty ought to be directed to maintaining these resources for their clients and their businesses, rather than to the landowner, Grove Farm.

Do Poipu business operators realize that within 6 months of operating a 2,000-cow dairy, an estimated 51 million pounds of wet manure and 600,000 gallons of urine will be produced?

With independent experts advising that the land area is not large enough for this density of cows and the Mahaulepu Valley soil is mostly non-absorbent clay, it is predicted that the manure and urine from the pastures will end up flowing into the natural watersheds and to the ocean where the current will take it to the South Shore beaches.

Imagine the eddy at Baby Beach in Poipu Beach Park covered with a scum of cow waste!

The prevailing northeast trade winds will carry the stench and biting black flies directly to the Poipu-Koloa tourism/residential areas.

Of great concern is the fact that at least four of the county wells that supply drinking water to the Koloa/Poipu area are in the immediate vicinity of the proposed dairy farm. The sludge from the milking sheds will also eventually be sprayed on these same pastures, particularly those relatively few pastures having well-draining soils which happen to be closest to the wells.

Runoff from the pastures will create a significantly increased risk of contamination of our drinking water. Experts have warned the state Department of Health of this risk.

Unless the dairy is stopped, it’s only a matter of time before tourists turn up their noses to the stench, biting flies and polluted drinking water and beaches, and business slumps — likely within a year of dairy operation.

It may never recover when someone is reported critically sick or dies from the bacteria.

The damage could take years and millions in taxes to attempt a recovery, just like other areas experiencing the same problems.

•••

Jenica K Waymen B.A. and Michael Coon, MSc marine biologist, live in Koloa.

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