Critics Say eBay Founder's Hawaiian Plan Literally Stinks

Pierre Omidyar wants to build a dairy on Kauai
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2017 12:32 PM CDT
Aerial view of part of Kauai is shown in this stock photo.   (Getty Images/maximkabb)

(Newser) – The smell of cow dung and the sting of biting flies—it's not exactly what one dreams of when dreaming of a Hawaiian getaway. But it's the reality eBay founder/Honolulu resident Pierre Omidyar is hoping to create on Kauai. With an eye toward sustainability, Omidyar is looking to bring 699 dairy cows (a number that allows it to skirt EPA regulations related to so-called "large concentrated animal feeding operations") to the island to create a homegrown dairy industry. The New York Times reports this would reduce Hawaii's need to import milk—all but about 10% of the state's food is imported—though it would still have to import the cows' feed. Pacific Business News reports the dairy's projected 1.5 million annual gallons of milk would be enough to supply 60,000 people; the state's population is just shy of 1.5 million people.

The owners of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa were successful in convincing a judge to force Omidyar's Hawaii Dairy Farms to undertake an environmental assessment before further construction proceeds. Per the Times, a lawyer for the resort expresses a concern: "Each dairy cow will produce 90.8 pounds of manure per day ... that is a lot of manure." The fear isn't just restricted to the smell, but includes the potential that the excrement could pollute drinking water (a well for two nearby neighborhoods is within 700 feet of the intended pastureland) or beaches. For now, Hawaii Dairy Farms' future sits in the hands of the state, which is reviewing the dairy's potential environmental implications. An interesting side note on the dairy's would-be pastureland: The Times reports it's actually owned by tech billionaire Steve Case. (Read more Pierre Omidyar stories.)

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