Kauai County has approved building permits for a proposed dairy farm in Mahaulepu funded by Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder and Hawaii’s wealthiest resident.

The proposal by Hawaii Dairy Farms has been under fire from neighbors who are worried about its environmental impact. Kawailoa Development, which owns a nearby resort and golf course, filed a lawsuit in July urging the court to declare the planned dairy a public nuisance.

 

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Screenshot of HawaiiDairyFarms.com

 

In response to concerns, Hawaii Dairy Farms cut back the dairy’s size by more than half in July and now promises it will house no more than 699 cows.

The company is also voluntarily producing an environmental impact statement, said Kyle Datta, general partner for Ulupono Initiative, a social investment firm that is funding Hawaii Dairy Farms.

“By going directly to an EIS, we are demonstrating our commitment to work with the community to address its concerns based on facts, not fears,” said Datta in a press release. “As a matter of good faith, we pledge not to undertake the construction of the dairy buildings, utilities or effluent ponds until after the regulators have accepted the EIS.”

The purpose of the dairy is to increase the production of local milk in Hawaii, where about 85 percent of food is imported and a gallon of milk can cost as much as wine.

Disclosure: The Ulupono Initiative was founded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Pierre Omidyar is the CEO and publisher of Civil Beat.

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