Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Feds say they did NOT demand Superferry environmental exemption

Feds say they did NOT demand
Superferry environmental exemption
Sep 6, 2007

By Gina Mangieri   http://www.khon2.com/news/local/9637577.html

The U.S. Maritime Administration says it did not demand environmental exemption in order to back the Hawaii Superferry's loan. In a recent letter, Gov. Linda Lingle told state Sen. Gary Hooser that the Maritime Adminsitration placed such a condition on the loan.

But the head of the administration, Sean Connaughton, says that was not the case. Connaughton says the maritime agency only wanted proof of the state and Superferry's prior claims that the harbor improvements could be exempted from review.  "Obviously the vessel has to meet every environmental requirement," Connaughton said. "The vessel and the operations do have to meet whatever applicable standards that may exist."

In the 2005 loan guaranty, the Maritime Administration stated "all the governmental and environmental clearances" had to be met, including "confirmation that there is no need for an environmental assessment of the port facilities." The agency says that does not constitute a demand to avoid environmental review.