New York Times spotlights proposed dairy

MAHAULEPU — Pierre Omidyar’s plan to put an industrial dairy farm on Kauai has been detailed in national rags, and most recently an Aug. 13 article in The New York Times gave some space to the controversy.

The dairy is being proposed as a 699-cow operation that could be expanded to a herd of 2,000 pregnant dairy cows on about 557 acres in Mahaulepu Valley near Poipu.

Proponents of the dairy say the operation can boost local food production for the state, but opponents cite environmental concerns regarding the project and say the location isn’t ideal for a dairy of that size. Water pollution and smells that could interact with downwind resorts are some of their concerns.

Friends of Mahaulepu is opposing the dairy through community education efforts. They also brought a federal Clean Water Act violation case brought against Omidyar’s Hawaiian investment office, Ulupono Initiative. In that case, the judge ruled the company didn’t secure the right permits before breaking ground on the site.

The Grand Hyatt brought a second lawsuit against Ulupono Initiative, citing the potential for smells from the planned dairy to affect business at the nearby Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.

Early this year, state District Judge Randal Valenciano revoked all permits for the dairy until an environmental assessment has been completed.

The New York Times’ chronicle of the contention between the millionaire eBay founder and community activists groups can be viewed at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/business/ebay-pierre-omidyar-dairy-hawaii.html.

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