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POSTED: Sunday, August 09, 2009

State approves EIS for tuna farm

A Hawaii company aiming to build the world's first commercial bigeye tuna farm off the Big Island says the state has approved its environmental impact statement.

Hawaii Oceanic Technology must still obtain permits from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources before it may start farming tuna in pens about three miles off the Kohala Coast.

The environmental impact statement concluded the farm wouldn't significantly affect the environment.

Fish farms elsewhere have had pollution problems as fish waste collected under fish pens. The packed cages also become breeding grounds for disease.

Hawaii Oceanic plans to avoid these problems by placing the pens in deep, open-ocean waters were strong currents will sweep away waste. The tuna also will be less densely packed.

Dam-failure lawsuits close to settlement

LIHUE » Court documents show tentative settlements have been reached in eight lawsuits filed after an earthen dam burst on the island of Kauai in 2006, killing seven people.

The wrongful-death lawsuits and a property-damage claim by entertainer Bette Midler and others blamed the owners of the century-old Kaloko Dam, among others, for the dam failure that sent more than 300 million gallons of water flooding three miles to the sea.

Seven people were swept to their deaths by the 20-foot-high wave. Midler is one of the area's largest landowners, with 38 acres.

A hearing on the settlements is set for Sept. 8. Details of the agreements were not disclosed.

Landowner James Pflueger is awaiting trial on seven counts of manslaughter and one of reckless endangering.