Thursday, November 22, 2007

Open letter to Gov. Linda Lingle

Open letter to Gov. Linda Lingle

RE: Act 2, to allow an Inter-Island Ferry Service to operate while the state conducts an Environmental Assessment.

We, the undersigned organizations representing citizens of Kaua‘i and the Neighbor Islands, reject this Act, believing that it is unlawful, unconstitutional and immoral. The 40 plus conditions, included in Executive Order No. 07-10, if read carefully, have a bottom line: that the success of the Hawai‘i Superferry be ensured at any cost.

According to the Executive Order, the concern for the safety of marine mammals is secondary to the comfort of the ferry passengers, as stated in item A2(a), of the Executive Order. Furthermore, there is no method mentioned to determine “passenger comfort,” so it is apparently up to the discretion of the captain of the vessel. What parameters to define “passenger comfort” will the captain of the vessel use?

The dates listed for the humpback whale season in the bill are inaccurate and insufficient. The humpback whales are in our waters from November through May, and other species are here year round. In fact, The Garden Island newspaper reported on Oct. 20, that the humpbacks are already here.

NOAA recommends a speed limit of not more than 13 knots in whale waters. This bill allows a killing speed of 25 knots in sensitive areas. The truth is all Hawaiian waters are sensitive; there is no way to contain whales in a given location.

The agricultural and natural resource screenings as required by the bill will be virtually impossible to implement as described by the HSF corporation in its scheduled “turn around time” of 1 hour. Thorough physical inspections, we believe, would require at least 5 to 10 minutes per vehicle. Random screening is not sufficient.

We are concerned for our homes and our environment; we affirm that corporate business interests must come secondary to these considerations, especially when that corporate business so profoundly affects our culture and environment.

Under this act, the governor oversees and can amend the provisions of the law. It is only fair, under the circumstances, to have all operating conditions under the supervision of an independent agency, charged with the authority to implement appropriate sanctions. Indeed, what sanctions or consequences are established for failure to comply? If HSF is found to be non-compliant with the specified conditions, does the Oversight Task Force, as called for in section 1a(1), qualify as an independent agency and do they have this power? If HSF is found to be in non-compliance with Act 2, does that nullify and void the privilege of operation this law affords, requiring them to stop operation?

Knowing that, as Judge Cardoza stated in his Oct. 9, decision, “there is a real possibility of irreparable damage to the environment, to the way of life in this community,” we feel betrayed. We believe critical interests, including the environmental, cultural and social qualities of our lives, have been pushed aside by your actions. Therefore, we urge all citizens of Hawai‘i to join us in condemnation of this act. The way this act is written leaves the governor responsible for the consequences; we, therefore, go on record at this time, stating that we will hold the governor so accountable.
People for the Preservation of Kaua‘i

Thousand Friends of Kaua‘i

GMO Free Kaua‘i

Hawai‘i Ocean Noise Coalition



Kanaka Council of the Island of Hawai‘i

Kaua‘i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice

Surfrider Foundation, Kaua‘i Chapter