Press Release: Momentum to Stop Industrial Dairy in Maha’ulepu Valley Continues To Grow

Community donations to Friends of Maha’ulepu met with matching $100,000 funds from local resident

KAUA’I, HI—APRIL 22, 2015—The fundraising campaign by the community group Friends of Maha’ulepu (“FOM”) to support a halt to the building of Hawaii Dairy Farms’ (“HDF”) industrial dairy in Maha’ulepu Valley is off to a booming start thanks to the support of the local community and the generosity of Po’ipu resident Jay Kechloian. A March pledge by Kechloian to match up to $100,000 in community funding was quickly met by area residents. Funds were donated by hundreds of individuals and organizations determined to protect community health, the environment and quality of life for residents and visitors of the Koloa/Po’ipu area.

“This isn’t the result of one man’s crusade,” said Bridget Hammerquist, President of FOM. “This is a community supported appeal for better treatment of the people, heritage and ecology of this precious area of our state and the nation.”

HDF’s proposed 2,000 cow industrial dairy to be sited upslope of the Makauwahi Cave archaeologic site and Maha’ulepu Beach would produce millions of pounds of bacteria-laden waste within 750 feet of county wells that provide all the drinking water for Po’ipu and much of Koloa.

“This will put Hawaii Dairy Farms and the appropriate government agencies on notice that residents and concerned citizens will have a say over what happens on this landscape,” said Kechloian, a member of FOM. “We will take every action available by law to stop the devastation that is sure to result from the operation of an industrial dairy at Maha’ulepu.”

Financed by billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative, the proposed dairy is currently operating in violation of the federal Clean Water Act and threatens the survival of the local environment and many threatened and endangered species. In March, FOM filed a Notice of Intent to Sue naming four entities responsible for the harm currently occurring in Maha’ulepu Valley—Grove Farm, Maha’ulepu Farm LLC, Ulupono Iniative and HDF.

Hammerquist says FOM is pleased with the community’s outpouring of support, but emphasized, “This is just the beginning of the fight. Continuing public support and community donations will be needed to stop this plan before it does irreversible damage.”

The HDF proposal would cause a range of problems including contamination of drinking water, pollution of Waiopili Stream and the once pristine Maha’ulepu Beach, the presence of noxious odors and biting flies, and harmful impacts to marine life, including endangered monk seals, turtles and whales.

Media Contact:
Bridget Hammerquist, Friends of Maha’ulepu
p: 808 742-1037 | e: friendsofmahaulepu@gmail.com