Anti-Dairy Activism Created by Tourism Industry
SA: … before construction began on the $17.5 million project, opposition built up from concerned citizens, members of Kauai’s visitor industry and environmental groups including the Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, Malama Maha‘ulepu and some wildlife and fisheries groups.
Kawailoa Development Inc., owner of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and the Poipu Bay Golf Course, filed a lawsuit in 2014 in an effort to force Ulupono to prepare an environmental assessment.
Ulupono elected to produce a more substantial environmental impact statement but withdrew the document in 2017 one month after finishing and publishing a final version….
Hooser: “I do believe it was a bad choice of location from the beginning.”
read … Environmentalism IS the Tourism Industry
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How EIS Doomed Dairy Farm
KGI: …In 2015, Friends of Mahaulepu sued HDF, alleging violation of the federal Clean Water Act by installing irrigation systems and wells without a stormwater construction permit. HDF was ordered to pay more than half a million dollars in attorney fees and court costs and $125,000 to fund a supplemental environmental project for stream-bank restoration and endangered species protection at Makauwahi Cave Reserve.
In June 2016, HDF completed a (VOLUNTARY) draft environmental impact statement on the project and submitted it to the state Department of Health in January 2017. In March 2017, DOH wouldn’t approve the final EIS and HDF withdrew the document from consideration saying the goal was to allow more time to accommodate advice from the Office of Environmental Quality Control.
That put the project on pause, because in order to get a new final EIS approved by the DOH, HDF would have potentially had to restart the two-year process. That didn’t happen, though.
“During discussions with various state agencies, it became clear to HDF there is no reasonable regulatory path forward for the dairy operation despite its best efforts to go above and beyond environmental compliance requirements,” HDF said in its Thursday release….
read … No dairy farm
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From Hawai’i Dairy Farms, January 31, 2019
Though we still believe Hawai‘i’s Milk Should Come from Hawai‘i, it is with deep disappointment that we announce Hawai‘i Dairy Farms will not continue its plans for a pasture-based dairy farm on Kaua‘i.
We are so grateful to all of you who have supported this dream by standing up in support of local agriculture and the potential to provide fresh milk for our island residents. Your kind words and care for our community are amazing. We hope you will continue to advocate for local agriculture to thrive.
As the most isolated, populated landmass in the world, Hawai‘i must continue to work toward a more resilient local food system that can feed our entire community.
While we were unable to find a clear regulatory path forward for this innovative and sustainable model of dairy farming, Ulupono Initiative remains committed to its mission of increasing local food production for Hawai‘i.
(Editor's Note: Whitesides Dairy DID find a 'Regulatory Path Forward' and commenced operation on the Big Island in 2012. But now, thanks to the anti-dairy pro-tourism activism created by the Kauai Omidyar plan, Whitesides is closing down.)
If our state is to achieve its ambitious goal of doubling local food production, more must be done to create an environment in which commercially viable agriculture can succeed. This is why we are working with Grove Farm and others to find an alternative path forward for local food production in Maha‘ulepu Valley.
To learn more, please read the press release here.
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Hawai‘i Dairy Farms discontinues plans for pasture-based operation on Kaua‘i
From Hawai’i Dairy Farms, January 31, 2019
MAHA‘ULEPU, Kaua‘i – After approximately five years of earnestly attempting to navigate Hawai‘i’s regulatory environment, Hawai‘i Dairy Farms (HDF) today formally announced its decision to discontinue plans for a pasture-based dairy farm on Kaua‘i.
Having exhausted all reasonable options for the dairy concept, HDF is now working with landowner Grove Farm and other third parties to explore alternative proposals for food production in Maha‘ulepu.
“One of our core mission objectives is to increase local food production, in any form, so that we are less reliant on imports,” said Amy Hennessey, director of communications for investor Ulupono Initiative. “If our state is to achieve its ambitious goal of doubling local food production, more must be done to create an environment in which commercially viable agriculture can succeed. This is why we are working with Grove Farm and others to find an alternative path forward for local food production in Maha‘ulepu Valley.”
During discussions with various state agencies, it became clear to HDF there is no reasonable regulatory path forward for the dairy operation despite its best efforts to go above and beyond environmental compliance requirements.
“It is disappointing we were unable to find a path forward to help bring a more sustainable model of dairy farming to Hawai‘i,” Hennessey added. “Our proposal for the dairy farm was based on best management practices proven from around the world to create a more environmentally sustainable model of dairy farm that utilized active pasture management to minimize runoff and use grass as a low-cost source of feed. But rather than incentivizing local food production to meet our state’s food goals, Hawai‘i’s environmental regulations seem to unfairly place dairies and other similar animal agriculture operations in the same category as wastewater treatment plants.”
The vision for Hawai‘i Dairy Farms was to create a pasture-based dairy operation that would provide fresh, nutritious milk produced in Hawai‘i at prices residents could afford. The site of the proposed dairy farm, which had not yet begun operations nor imported animals, was approximately 557 acres of Important Agricultural Lands in Maha‘ulepu on south Kaua‘i, 2.5 miles from populated areas. Hawai‘i Dairy Farms leased the land from Grove Farm and received investment funds from Ulupono Initiative.
The dairy farm had the potential to significantly reduce Hawai‘i’s reliance on imported milk from the U.S. Mainland, supporting Hawai‘i’s food security, economic diversity, and sustainability. As recently as 1984, Hawai‘i produced 100 percent of its milk through local dairies. Today, the state is effectively importing 100 percent of its milk, most of which is weeks old and pasteurized twice by the time it reaches consumers.
All existing farm assets are being auctioned by Island Bid Auctions in hopes of providing valuable equipment to farmers who might be able to use the resources. The auction will close on Feb. 24, 2019. Interested parties may review and bid on items at: http://bit.ly/HDFAuction
About Hawai‘i Dairy Farms
More than six years ago, Kaua‘i landowner Grove Farm recognized the tremendous void in local milk production and began looking at how to restart the island’s dairy industry. Grove Farm considered new dairy farming models (versus the traditional confinement dairies) and determined that New Zealand’s grass-fed model would be the cleanest, most cost effective and sustainable method for Hawai‘i.
From 2010 to 2011, Grove Farm partnered with Finistere Ventures, Kamehameha Schools, Maui Land & Pineapple and Ulupono Initiative to conduct grass trials statewide to find the best site for a pasture-based dairy. Kaua‘i was found to be the optimal location, and Maha‘ulepu Valley was selected because of its long history of agriculture and ranching, Important Agricultural Land designation, availability, growing conditions and access to water for irrigation.
In late 2013, Ulupono Initiative made the investment to fund Hawai‘i Dairy Farms.
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As Explained: Auction: Omidyar Dairy Liquidating?
SA: Plan for pasture-based dairy farm on Kauai scrapped
CB: Hawaii Dairy Farms was thwarted by regulatory obstacles, lawsuits and community opposition