Hawaiians Fight eBay Founder's Plans to Open Dairy Farm

Pierre Omidyar wants to bring 699 dairy cows onto Kauai, which locals fear will destroy the island's natural beauty and pollute waterways.

This week, The New York Times profiled eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s plans to open a dairy farm in the Maha’ulepu area of Kauai, Hawaii. Omidyar’s plans to open the Hawai’i Dairy Farm on a stretch of property have been met with aggressive resistance from local residents and businesses. Local attorney Bridget Hammerquist set up nonprofit Friends of Maha’ulepu to block the construction of the farm. “We’re all for local agriculture, but why put a dairy there?” Hammerquist said. “It’s a serious threat to Kauai’s biggest source of revenue—tourism—to the environment, and to our quality of life.” The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa filed a lawsuit against Hawai’i Dairy Farm to fight the operation—which will use 699 dairy cows, a number that is purposefully one cow short of what the government considers a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (aka, a factory farm). “We are concerned with odors and flies from the dairy,” Lisa Munger, a lawyer who represents the hotel, said. “Each dairy cow will produce 90.8 pounds of manure per day—whether there are 699 cows or 2,000 cows, that is a lot of manure.” The farm’s environmental report—which Munger successfully forced the operation to file—is currently under review by state officials. Meanwhile, residents are showing their disdain for the billionaire's plans by affixing bumper stickers that read “No Moo Poo in Maha’ulepu” to their cars.

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