Group Raises $200K to Fight Proposed Hawaii Dairy Farm

April 23, 2015 06:38 AM
Group Raises $200K to Fight Proposed Hawaii Dairy Farm

A group fighting a proposed grass-fed dairy on the Hawaiian island of Kauai will hire experts to study the project's environmental impacts.

Community group Friends of Mahaulepu raised more than $200,000 to fight Hawaii Dairy Farms' plans for the south side dairy on 578 acres.

The $17.5-million farm is backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's Ulupono Initiative, with the hopes of reducing Hawaii's dependency on milk from the mainland. But opponents raise concerns over odor and other environmental issues.

The group of opponents got an infusion of financial support from Jay Kechloian, a retired builder and developer from Seattle who is matching donations up to $100,000, Lihue newspaper, The Garden Island  reported Wednesday.

"The more information the community is getting on how devastating the dairy will be on our community, the more money they contributed because they want it to stop," Kechloian said. "Friends of Mahaulepu will take every legal action, every legal step that is available to us in the law to stop this dairy from coming in."

Hawaii Dairy Farms is already conducting a voluntary environmental review. Spokeswoman Amy Hennessey said a draft should be available this summer. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the environmental impact statement.

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