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Letter for Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017 GMT

Figure out what farming is OK

Based on the facts presented by The Garden Island in the story headlined, “Judge revokes dairy permits,” I am sure that members of the Friends of Mahaulepu are very pleased for two main reasons. Based on their extensive knowledge of agricultural runoff and its affects on the environment as demonstrated in their many letters to the editor, I am sure that they are secure in the fact that an environmental impact study will prove that the dairy plans should not go forward.

Secondly, since the owners of the Grand Hyatt are the ones who filed the lawsuit, the Hyatt will be funding any appeal argument. This relieves the members from further legal costs.

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I suggest that The Friends of Mahaulepu take the next obvious positive step. Use their existing organization and its fundraising capability to hire an outside agricultural expert to evaluate what type of farming activity would be acceptable to them.

The plan would have achieve four main criteria: 1. not damage the environment, 2. satisfy those who want to see local sustainable agriculture, 3. be profitable enough to pay a reasonable lease to the landowner, and 4. attract farmers who are willing and capable to work the land for the amount they can earn.

They could even take a further step. Based on the possible proposals, find investors among the very concerned South Shore residents to lease the land and run the farm through a partnership or co-operative. That way they can ensure that they have control over what happens on the land, and take responsibility for any possible future environmental damage.

There is one main danger in this approach. If the study comes back saying there is no such farming plan that meets all those criteria, then the landowner would have a strong case to apply for rezoning the land for some type of development. So, be careful what you wish for.

Jonathan McRoberts, Kilauea