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Planned Kauai dairy farm delays approval process

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LIHUE >> A planned dairy farm in Hawaii has taken a step back by withdrawing parts of its application to allow more time for discussion of its likely environmental impact.

Kauai’s Hawaii Dairy Farms withdrew its Final Environmental Impact Statement from state consideration on Tuesday, reported The Garden Island. Spokeswoman Amy Hennessey said in a release that the dairy wants to allow time for additional responses to comments on its plan to keep a minimum of 699 dairy cows on a 557-acre site in Kauai’s Mahaulepu Valley.

Opponents of the dairy see a chance to stop its construction and hope to meet with owner HDF Pierre Omidyar and his staff.

Bridget Hammerquist, president of the citizen group Friends of Mahaulepu, said her group wants to share its research data with HDF leaders before they proceed with “a project that significantly threatens our water, fresh and ocean, our health, our economy and our daily life style.”

HDF may have to restart the two-year process in order to get a new Final Environmental Impact Statement approved by the state Department of Health. But the process is still being worked out since it is the first time the health department has handled an environmental impact statement.

Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo says officials need some time to determine the legal language before continuing to the next steps.

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