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corporate dominance | forest defense

Hawaii's SuperFerry Folly

The Superferry is a 350 ft long military spec transport Catamaran. The two narrow 14 ft deep and 350 ft long hulls slice whales up without even a bump to the Superferry moving through the water at about 60 ft per second.
Cartoon by Belsky - Hilo
Cartoon by Belsky - Hilo
(Hawaii) There seems to be no limit to what they'll do to make corporate profiteers comfortable!

Is it not a crime to override two court decisions, both the State Supreme and lower court, and call a special session of the State Legislature to cater to arrogant Superferry Corporation owners? The uncaring Hawai'i State Government has refused to protect our 'aina ["Land"] and ocean, and has circumvented the requirement that the law be followed with an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).

The crime is in ignoring the Court decisions and circumventing Statutes requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS.) If this was not done in collusion with Governor Lingle's administration, then it was malfeasance. Collateral damage of this nefarious episode is the undermining of the 30 year old Environmental Law itself.

Yet Kaua'i people who felt "backed against the wall" by the cavalier attitude of Superferry and the State going against the Supreme Court ruling are being chastised and accused of lacking the Aloha Spirit for their practice of Aloha 'Aina [Note: Love of the Land] and for protecting their 'aina [Land] and homes on Kaua'i.

How hollow and meaningless this makes our traditional Hawaiian value system of Aloha 'Aina, which ironically is touted in the State 2050 Sustainability Plan as our guide into the future.

One wonders how the decision to ignore an EIS for Superferry was made ONLY within the Department of Transportation without consultation with the Attorney General or Governor Lingle while the issue was in court. Is this a cover-up?

The Governor's proposed "Unified Command" threatens protesters with a Coast Guard flotilla -- this smacks of police state tactics. Those citizens who question and protest these proceedings are further intimidated with the threat of child endangerment charges should their surfer teenager end up as part of the protest.

This Superferry gang and Governor Lingle will apparently go to any legal and extra legal lengths to undermine Judge Cardoza and the State Supreme Court's prudent rulings.

There are those of us on the neighbor islands, native and non-native alike, who believe the phrase "Keep the Country, Country" is not just an idle phrase on a bumper-sticker. The issue is broader than the Superferry itself. It is the loss of our quality of life - the soul, the mana [Note: Spiritual Power] of our Islands.

We don't want the urbanization, concrete jungle and freeway traffic jams of 'Oahu. Nor do we want our natural resources pillaged like the three truck loads of river pohaku [Rocks] from 'Iao Stream on Maui that would have been transported by Superferry to 'Oahu. The perpetrators were charged and will be tried.

A proper and thorough EIS from the beginning would have addressed these issues and others that are sure to arise, and we would not be a divided citizenry on the Superferry issue as we are today.

The legislature that met for 6 days to sell out Hawaiis' people and our environment, foolishly convened a special session to bail out Superferry and the Governor, both of whom ignored the law written over 30 years ago to protect the environment, possibly before the Governor moved here from the Mainland. That is part of our problem here in Paradise: some newcomers move here and try to make us into whatever it was they left behind on the mainland. They think we are "country bumpkins!"

The Superferry President and CEO, John Garibaldi, had already stated that they will not go slower than 37 knots (over 42 mph or about 60 ft
per second.) This is twice as fast as any current large ocean going vessel within these Islands. The Superferry's route is within Maui's whale calving waters and is sure to slash and kill any whale on impact with the Catamaran's knife like hulls, according to expert testimony in Judge Cardoza's court.

It is not that we are against the Superferry and having alternative transportation between our Islands; we are positively against Superferry and the State Administration not protecting us-- the People-- and our natural resources. Instead of following the law regarding Superferry the Legislature and Governor changed it at a whim for CORPORATE interests!

What price paradise? Auwe! [Rough translation: In mourning and wailing as if at a Funeral.]

Yet this issue is not over. With their "new law" intended to circumvent Judge Cardoza's ruling, the State hopes to dissolve the injunction that prohibits the Superferry operation while the EIS is being worked out. Opponent attorney, Isaac Hall, will argue that the injunction must stand because the "new law" is unconstitutional. The hearing is set for November 14 on Maui. Stay tuned!

Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina I ka pono! Translation: The life of the Land is perpetuated in righteousness. Hawaiian state motto passed on from King Kamehameha III when he saw the dangers of the impact of the invasion from America.


Moanikeala Akaka is a Native Hawaiian woman whose roots have been in Hawaii for over 1200 years. One of a handful who started the modern movement for Justice for her people and land almost 40 years ago. She is a former Trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. (12 years) She initiated Hawaii County ordinances making Hawaii Island the first and largest nuclear free zone in America in 1980. She also works actively for public health, legal and social services, AARP and Peace issues. Contact Akaka at  alohaaina.akaka@gmail.com

Distributed by Bob Nichols, a Project Censored Award Winner and correspondent for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Nichols covers War, Politics and America's Nuclear Weapons Labs. Nichols filed an official statement about radiation detection irregularities in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Contact Nichols at in San Francisco at 415-992-NEWS, or 6397, or Email  duweapons@gmail.com

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