April 06, 2017
Hawai‘i Dairy Farms and Friends of Maha‘ulepu have submitted to Judge Kobayashi for her review and approval a proposed consent decree that is the culmination of several months of settlement discussions between the parties. Both parties felt it was in their best interest to settle rather than go through a lengthy and costly trial. As part of the consent decree, Hawai‘i Dairy Farms will bolster its existing run-off prevention practices.
We are also happy to share that the court has already supported Hawai‘i Dairy Farms’ recommendation that the Makauwahi Cave Reserve be the recipient of $125,000 for a supplemental environmental project to be funded by Hawai‘i Dairy Farms after Judge Kobayashi approves the final version of the consent decree. Rather than spend money in a legal battle, we wanted to directly support the community and address the existing contamination in the area being caused by nearby injection wells, cesspools and invasive species.
This does not change our existing plans to complete the EIS. We remain committed to continuing our work with regulators and the community to bring the state’s first pasture-based dairy to fruition.
It has come to our attention that the Friends of Maha‘ulepu has released inaccurate statements falsely claiming victory in this matter. Below are clarifications to those misstatements:
- As stated in Judge Kobayashi’s order, there is no conclusive evidence that established any discharges caused by HDF activities
- The order does not "require Defendants to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control and prevent runoff from the areas that were illegally disturbed” as quoted by FOM
- The judge selected an independent third party monitor to observe any work needed on the existing water pipelines. It will not be monitored by FOM as stated in its release.
- The consent decree is not “final." It is a “proposed” consent decree that was “lodged” with Judge Kobayashi. It will now be submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where the document will go through a mandatory 45-day review period. Following that, it could be approved as final by Judge Kobayashi.
- Once approved, the consent decree will only be in effect until Hawai‘i Dairy Farms obtains an NPDES stormwater construction permit.