The Garden Island - - Front Page - Jes­sica Else

LIHUE — Hawaii Dairy Farms will be cough­ing up than half a mil­lion dol­lars for at­tor­ney fees and court costs, ac­cord­ing to a Mon­day deci- sion by a Hawaii Dis­trict Court.

In a 71-page or­der, Judge Ken­neth Mans­field awarded $506,328 in at­tor­ney fees, ex­pert-wit­ness fees, and costs to Friends of Mahaulepu.

“We wel­come the award. It val­i­dates that the case we brought had merit,” said Brid­get Ham­merquist of FOM.

She con­tin­ued: “For­tu­nately, Congress rec­og­nized that, at times cit­i­zens in a com­mu­nity may be forced to file a Clean Wa­ter Act vio- la­tion law­suit. The award of lit­i­ga­tion fees and costs un­der­scores the law’s in­tent to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Amy Hen­nessey, spokes­woman for HDF said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is “ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed in the rul­ing,” but will abide by the court’s de­ci­sion.

“At the same time, we re­main com­mit­ted to work­ing to­ward the goal of in­creas­ing lo­cal food pro­duc­tion,” Hen­nessey said.

The award fol­lowed a con­sent judg­ment or­der en­tered in May by fed­eral Judge Les­lie Kobayashi in a Clean Wa­ter Act vi­o­la­tion case be­tween HDF and FOM.

The case was filed be­cause HDF be­gan con­struc­tion of the planned 557-acre dairy with­out hav­ing the nec­es­sary per­mits — specif­i­cally a Na­tional Pol­lu­tant Dis­charge Elim­i­na­tion Sys­tem per­mit.

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