Letters for Friday, March 14, 2014

• Impressions of a dairy farm • Young families need Habitat homes • Toxic contamination from farm inevitable • Path extension will benefit everyone

Impressions of a dairy farm

Attending the Koloa meeting on Grove Farm’s (Steve Case & Pierre Omidyar) proposed dairy Thursday evening, this resident was a bit disappointed. Attending the meeting with the thought of a positive, maybe showing up for the cause of keeping Kauai an agricultural island, the meeting created more negatives to this viewer.

The presentation proves the “done deal” tradition lives. After buying herds of milk cows and prepping them for travel to Hawaii, this project has to be a “done deal.”

Collecting only 8 percent of cow fecal waste does not sound good. Leaving early, I have no idea if urine was discussed. Combining manure and urine creates a toxic waste, so I have been told. Portions of this pasture toxic — manure and urine — will seep into the water table.  

When questioned about the odor of the operation, everyone was assured there would be no unpleasant odors. A positive.  

When questioned about flies, the solution was not so good. Alert: before reading further, please sit down. The fly solution will be overcome by importing a “wasp,” a cousin of the honey bee that happens to be a predator of the honey bee. Wasp eat bees and other varmints for the birthing of their young. To me, bees are more important than wasps. Hawaii does not need another invasive species. Have we learned nothing about importing new species of life into Hawaii?

The closer: the milk will cost more. The developers don’t know how much (ha ha) but hope the public will pay more. Oh yes, the milk will be shipped to Oahu for bottling and shipped back to Kauai. Sounds like a shaky “done deal” risk to me.  But then, do we have a choice? Can we trust these people? Stay tuned. 

John Hoff, Lawai

Young families need Habitat homes

Why are young families with children not qualifying for self-build homes in Eleele? Yet, there are a lot of them without children qualifying. I can understand that there has to be a research on the participants and to see if they can handle the mortgage and the utilities.

However, why should it matter what and where they live and did in the past two years? Things change and a lot can happen in two years such as a job lost on one of the spouse. It shouldn’t matter if they were renting from family as long as their responsibilities (monthly rental payments, and utilities) were and is in order and up-to-date.

Young families need to get a first home and there is no better program (Habitat for Humanities) that is offered. Yet they can not pass the regulations set to qualify.

Howard Tolbe, Eleele

Toxic contamination from farm inevitable

At the last Kauai Community College dairy farm meeting, Hawaii Dairy Farms made a startling admission. Farm Manager, Jim Garmatz, stated that HDF has not yet tested the soil at the site for percolation. He described the soil as slow draining clay. After our recent months of wet days, HDF realizes the soil at their proposed dairy site is not “free draining volcanic soil” as they stated in the plan submitted to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Would HDF have received plan approval at Mahaulepu had the actual soil type been accurately reported in their “plan?” Mahaulepu has a history of storms and rain water runoff to the ocean. Does HDF seriously believe the runoff in the future will not be waste, versus water, once the proposed dairy is established?

The mix of harmful ingredients deposited on the soil, the daily 52 tons of manure and 10,800 gallons of urine, will be free to flow downhill, polluting the rivers and ocean as it goes. HDF has stated they will collect only 8 to 10 percent of the manure and urine, the expected collection from the milking barn which will go to their holding ponds. The other 90 percent will be dropped by the cows in the pastures. These pastures just happen to be uphill from the beautiful Mahaulepu coastline.

The U.S. Weather Service has daily records of rainfall data from the Mahaulepu rain gauge. A review of the rain gauge data confirms at least 61 days of rainfall exceeding the wet day expectation HDF reported to the NRCS.

If the 25-year rain experience repeats itself, HDF effluent ponds are certain to overflow. The resultant toxic contamination of Mahaulepu will be certain. Livestock waste is 160 times more toxic than raw municipal sewage. The toxic runoff will be disastrous.

Ronald John, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Path extension will benefit everyone

Having watched the evolution of the path from the beginning, I can state unequivocally that it is a wonderful addition to the island and is in constant use by all manner of walkers, runners, skaters, bikers and people with impaired mobility. Using the railroad right of way where possible is, and will be in the future, the logical way to extend the path to Anahola, but connecting the two existing sections under consideration is a challenge. Your proposal is well thought out and presents the most practical and feasible solution. While I wish it could stay near the water all the way, there are existing structures that make this virtually impossible, so you have done the next best thing.

The public presently has access to the proposed route, and I have walked it many times. Being that motorized vehicles will not use it, very little will change from the perspective of those staying in the hotels along the coast, and if anything, it will be an improvement. Far from impacting the coast negatively, I think path users will do as they have along the existing parts, where they monitor and collect the minimal amount of refuse. If there is any potential abuse of monk seals or turtles, I’m sure it will be reported or immediately addressed by users.

As a kid, I loved spending time on the beach at Wailua and sadly watched the increasing traffic on the highway destroy its appeal to beachgoers. I can’t get over how much the new path with its barrier wall has changed the feeling for the better. The beach is getting more use and it feels separated from the traffic. The naupaka and other plants are growing with the additional water and change almost daily. You did the right thing and the path and the beach will get more and more use.

Please do everything possible to place the path along the water where proposed, and if it is as well placed and built as what has been done already, my children, grandchildren and all future generations will thank you for the foresight and thought that went into making the path a reality.

Hope I live to see the path completed from Nawiliwili to Anahola.

Bruce Richardson, Kapaa


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.