POSTED: 12:12 p.m. HST, Apr 11, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 2:01 p.m. HST, Apr 11, 2014
LIHUE, Hawaii >> A group of biologists and residents is opposing plans for a dairy farm on Kauai, claiming the project is moving forward without proper permits and will have harmful environmental impacts.
In a letter to the county earlier this month, the group urged the Department of Public Works to take a closer look at Hawaii Dairy Farms, which hopes to begin producing milk for customers next year on more than 580 acres in Mahaulepu.
"We, the undersigned, believe that HDF has amply demonstrated their disregard for the environment, willingness to play fast and loose with their facts, such that they cannot be entrusted with so precious an area," Koloa resident Bridget Hammerquist and 14 others wrote in the letter.
Signatures include Don Heacock, a fisheries biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Carl Berg of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai chapter.
Hawaii Dairy Farms spokeswoman Amy Hennessey said the company never went outside of its permitting, and it's disheartening to hear some believe the project is not doing what's right for the community.
"We don't want to do something that's harmful," she said, adding that the claims are based on assumptions.
County spokeswoman Beth Tokioka told the Garden Island (http://ow.ly/vHcMb ) that the Public Works Department's chief engineer was working on a response to the letter.
Berg said the group isn't opposed to a dairy farm, but the location is problematic. "If we didn't have to worry about everything running into the ocean, Surfrider wouldn't care," he said.