While perusing the Malama Kauai newsletter, I saw the curious claim: “We won a landmark Supreme Court case for water rights.” So I clicked on the link, and what do I see? Earthjustice and MK are claiming credit for winning the Kauai Springs water bottling case.
Mmmm, as I recall it, Kauai County put up all the dough and did all the heavy lifting over eight long years of litigation. Earthjustice slipped in at the appeal, filed a measly amicus (friend of court) brief and deftly positioned itself and MK's Keone Kealoha as heroes.
Excuse me, but WTF do Keone and MK know about water, and what has he or that group ever done on its behalf? Their one claim to fame is school gardens. Oh, and giving Superferry opponents a spokesman with a Hawaiian name to counter claims it was a haole movement.
But that's how Earthjustice operates. They cherry pick high-profile cases and nonprofits, then spin it for publicity and fundraising. Just as they're doing with their intervention in the chem companies' lawsuit against the pesticide/GMO regulatory law, Ordinance 960.
Councilman Gary Hooser is quoted as saying the intervention is a “big win for the people of Kauai.” It'll only be a big win for the people of Kauai if Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety pick up a substantial portion of the legal fees we're incurring defending the crappy bill they wrote.
But don't hold your breath. Because this isn't really about the little people on Kauai. Though EJ and CFS claim they're representing “the community” and “those who have been most harmed by these toxins,” they picked as their clients not real folks with health problems on the westside, but Pesticide Action Network, another publicity- and cash-hungry national group; Ka Makani Hoopono, a group formed solely for the purposes of joining the lawsuit, and Surfrider Foundation, another national group, which is trying to pretend it's neutral enough to test water for pesticides. Uh huh.
Speaking of Surfrider, the Star-Advertiser yesterday picked up on its chummy — and ironic — new alliance with high-end tourism and real estate development.
The piece focused on how upscale Poipu vacation rental properties and the Grand Hyatt have aligned with “environmental” groups like Malama Mahaulepu, Surfrider and Sierra Club to kill the proposed Mahaulepu dairy.
I laughed out loud when I read one of their gripes:
They argue that the dairy's plan to use partial grains to feed the cows and to ship milk from Kauai to be bottled on Oahu isn't part of environmentally sustainable practices.
But the totally unsustainable Grand Hyatt, which depends on a steady stream of imported tourists, food and booze to keep afloat, guzzles massive amounts of electricity and water, generates tons of trash and produces thousands of gallons of sewage gets a free pass?
That wasn't the only amusing bit:
"This is kind of a clash of cultures," said Jerry Westenhaver, general manager of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, which is about 2.5 miles from Ulupono's proposed dairy farm. "Grove Farm, which owns the land under the proposed dairy farm, doesn't understand the fragile, competitive nature of the tourism industry and how one round of bad press could affect a lot of people's lives.”
I guess Jerry doesn't know that Grove Farm sold developers the land that became the Hyatt – a resort project bitterly opposed by his new BFFs in the Kauai environmental community, btw.
Jerry went on to say:
"Once the community opens the gate, it's going to be hard to close again," he said.
Yeah, that's why a lot of us were worried about turning ag land into resorts and gentleman's estates, and going gang-busters into tourism promotion. And sho nuff, here we are facing the monster that Grove Farm helped to create.
Only now, our sadly co-opted environmental community has joined forces with the so-not-green tourism and luxury real estate industries in opposition to agriculture, claiming it's not green enough.
But don't worry, the environmentalists are still dedicated to “green” principles — as in the color of money. So keep those tax-free donations flowing, folks. Just don't ask for any accounting of the funds or a list of donors.
Because disclosure and transparency are for the other guys, the “bad guys.” Whereas they're the good guys, the aina warriors. Right?