Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ABCNEWS.com: The Mission: Send 1,000 Love Letters to Complete Strangers

I found this special news story on ABC News.com and thought you'd enjoy reading about it and the intention behind it.  It's pay it forward in action, and is inspiring to me.


Subject: ABCNEWS.com: The Mission: Send 1,000 Love Letters to Complete Strangers


John Tyler, owner.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Superferry's interisland service depends on court ruling

HONOLULU ADVERTISER     Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hawaii Superferry's interisland
service depends on court ruling

Service may be halted if high court rules against law that let ship operate

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer

The state Supreme Court, whose ruling last year led to a three-month shutdown of Hawaii Superferry, will decide whether the interisland service can continue in a new case to be heard next week.

The court will decide whether Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature violated the state Constitution last year with a new law that allowed Superferry to resume operation while an environmental review of the project is completed.

A ruling could have an immediate impact on whether Superferry can operate between O'ahu and Maui. It could also influence the separation of powers among the governor, the Legislature and the courts.

The Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, the nonprofit groups that brought the legal challenge that temporarily stopped Superferry last year, have asked the court to declare the new law unconstitutional.

Arguments before the court are scheduled for Dec. 18.

The Supreme Court ruled in August 2007 that the state should not have exempted the Superferry project from an environmental assessment. A Maui court subsequently halted ferry service to Kahului Harbor, while public protests kept the ferry from returning to Kaua'i.

Lingle called a special session of the Legislature, where lawmakers passed a bill that allowed the ferry to resume operation under conditions designed to protect the environment while an environmental impact statement is prepared. Lingle signed the bill into law, and the Maui court allowed the ferry to return to Kahului Harbor.

Many political observers thought the legal challenges were largely over, but the court's willingness to hear the appeal so soon raises the possibility that Superferry may again be stopped.

"This case is now a case of even greater public importance," Isaac Hall, the Wailuku attorney representing the environmental groups, said in court filings.

violations alleged

Hall's main arguments are that the new law violates two parts of the Constitution: Article I, Section 21, which bars the state from making any irrevocable grants of special privileges; and Article XI, Section 5, which says the Legislature can only exercise power over state lands through general laws.

The constitutional restriction on special privileges, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, is meant to ensure the state acts on behalf of all people and not for the sake of the elite. The provision limiting the Legislature's power to general laws over state lands is designed to prevent sweetheart land deals for private interests.

Lawmakers, mindful of the constitutional restrictions, were careful not to mention Superferry by name in the new law, and instead described a "large capacity ferry vessel."

But Hall argues that the new law was "conceived, cut and tailored" solely for Superferry, a special law that gave Superferry access through an operating agreement to state land at Kahului and other harbors.

Hall also argues that the new law deprives the environmental groups of a vested right, given by the Supreme Court's ruling last year, for an environmental assessment under the state's environmental review law. The new law removed the large-capacity ferry vessel from under the state's environmental review law and created a similar — although not identical — process to conduct an environmental impact statement by next summer.

Hall argues that the new law "amounts to a legislative and executive revision of judicial decisions."

Lawmakers were guided when drafting the new law by the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Robertson v. Seattle Audubon Society. The ruling found that it was not unconstitutional for Congress to change timber harvesting rules in federally managed forests in response to legal challenges by environmentalists, who had argued that the old rules threatened endangered northern spotted owls.

The ruling found that Congress did not direct results in the legal challenges under the old law, but instead replaced the legal standards with new provisions.

Lawmakers in Hawai'i essentially did the same thing with Superferry.

                      State lawyer counters

Dorothy Sellers, the state solicitor general, argues in the state's legal briefs that the governor and lawmakers acted within their authority to create new public policy.

Sellers said the new law is not an irrevocable grant of special privileges for a ferry company because it expires when the environmental impact statement is accepted by the state or, at the latest, by next summer.

The new law is not a special law involving legislative power over state lands, Sellers argues, because the operating agreement is between an executive-branch agency — the state Department of Transportation — and a ferry company. The ferry company also does not have an exclusive right under the agreement and must share state harbors with other users.

Sellers said Hawai'i courts have not addressed the meaning of general law as it applies to Article XI of the Constitution, but the Supreme Court has upheld a legislative act designed to respond to a singular circumstance. In Bulgo v. County of Maui in 1967, the court found that it was constitutional for the Legislature to pass a law tailored for Maui calling for a special election to replace the chairman of the board of supervisors, who had died shortly after re-election and had not begun his new term.

Sellers also argued that the environmental groups have no vested right to an environmental assessment for Superferry under the state's environmental review law because the August 2007 Supreme Court decision was not the final judgment in the case.

The appeal, Sellers said, is "an assault on the inherent, essential power of the Legislature to speak for the people and to revise the public policies of the state as the Legislature determines necessary."

Last year, lawmakers were not enthusiastic about returning in special session to help Superferry but agreed because of the potential benefits of interisland ferry service. Lawmakers found that the ferry was an alternative mode of transportation that could help move people and cargo between the islands and could be an asset in disaster relief.

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), said she believes the Legislature acted properly. She wishes, however, that the state House, Lingle and Superferry had agreed with the Senate and supported an environmental review of the project before the court ruled that such a review was required.

Hanabusa predicted that justices would decide the appeal based on an Article XI test of whether the new law is general or special.

              'a major problem'

If the court were to issue a broad ruling limiting the Legislature's power, Hanabusa said, lawmakers may have to consider asking voters to amend the Constitution.

In 2006, for example, voters approved a constitutional amendment that allowed the Legislature to define what constitutes the continuous sexual abuse of a minor under 14. The court had ruled that a law defining continuous sexual abuse was a violation of the right to due process because jurors were not instructed that they had to be unanimous about which specific acts amounted to continuous abuse.

"If the Supreme Court comes back and says that we don't have the right to make exceptions to the law, for whatever reason, then we're going to have a major problem," Hanabusa said.

Irene Bowie, the executive director of Maui Tomorrow, said the environmental groups deserve a real environmental assessment of Superferry, not what their attorney has described as a "pseudo-process that falls far short" of the state's environmental law.

"I think that this has been an illegitimate process. I don't think there's any real results that we'll come away with on this," Bowie said of the new law. "We would absolutely like to see this done over again in the proper way."

Reach Derrick DePledge at ddepledge@honoluluadvertiser.com.

John Tyler, owner.
Toll free 866-530-4117

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The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The New Book, Fargo on the Big Island, and Confronting Act 2

The New Book, Fargo on the Big Island, and Confronting Act 2

There is a lot going on right now:

1.) The book on this is catching fire. There have been some interesting phone conversations and e-mail's exchanging hands between the islands about the book.

2.) Fargo went to speak to the Kawaihae community on Sunday. They were expecting him there for at least a couple of hours. He started getting peppered with difficult questions, like about DU, so he got short and left after only an hour before a number of people in the small audience could ask their questions. The flaming about this in e-mails from those in attendance is noteworthy. Why would a person take a time consuming round-trip to go over their from Oahu and then only stay for an hour? Here is the only article on the event: "Superferry Update; Questions remain unanswered at Kawaihae meeting."

3.) HSF announced yesterday they are offering 2 for 1 deals but only to military personnel. I wasn't even going to recognize this story, but others have, so I'll just say ridership must be low. Otherwise, the preference doesn't surprise me.

4.) Lastly Joan Conrow has a fairly decent blog entry today on word about the new book, Superferry Chronicles. I found the comments to her blog entry to be especially enlightening. One or two of the comments there clarify the size of the crowd at Nawiliwili Harbor in August 2007; it was somewhere between 1000 and 1500. Those comments also clarify the filled and overflowing auditorium at the beginning of the event when the Governor's Unified Command came to speak in Sept. 2007.

But what I found especially interesting was that one of the anonymous commentors asks if people have read what Ken Stokes has written on the issue? Surprisingly, I had not, so I looked it up. I was surprised with what I found. This is important because it relates to a similar type of evaluation that could be used by others with an influenced Act 2 EIS. Here are my responses to Ken's 2006 post on this subject:

"...Well, we'll take it in order:

1. Claim- "Ironically, concerns about the energy efficiency of inter-island transport have only recently entered the debate amid claims these boats would actually generate more emissions than inter-island jets, though the available data (see below) suggest the opposite is true."

Response- HSF burns 15 times more petroleum based fuel to cover the same route than an Hawaiian Air jet. Even if you brought the maximum number of people transported to the same for each, a jet airplane is at least twice as efficient as HSF using no more than 1/2 the fuel that HSF takes to transport the same number of people the same distance. This is mainly so because the boat has 4 diesel engines moving through more water resistance and these planes have 2 jet engines moving through less resistant air. One could question whether one pollutes the air more than the sea and vis-a-versa, but I would think the petroleum carbon is released into the environment nevertheless. From an economic standpoint, a jet plane is much more efficient than HSF, assuming there is not really the need to move cars quickly interisland.

2. Claim- About the traffic, and "300 vehicles" split evenly going north and south.

Response- A key point here is that they don't all come and go in one day. They accumulate over a number of days in the beginning, as people are here for a number of days, weeks; ie. visitors and construction workers. The accumulated daily average total, assuming uninterrupted service, would amount to more like 1000 to 2000 additional cars on the island. These roads, esp. between Wailua and Kealia, cannot handle that kind of influx.

3. Claim- As for "the added risk and impact" of invasive species "must be fairly small."

Response- Well, first of all, we don't know, and certainly an economist would not know. Maybe a biologist or a DOA or DLNR officier might have a better idea on that. What we do know is that Kauai does not have the size of invasives populations that Oahu and the Big Island, and that even Maui have. Those would include the mongoose, fire ants, varroa mites, and coqui frogs, among others. All of those have been spreading between the other islands, but not to Kauai, except for the coqui in small numbers.

Just one example I'll mention. The Nene geese are well established on Kauai, at least on the Northshore. I see and hear them on the land and at low altitude all the time. That is not the case on the other islands. THIS IS the beautiful state bird. If the mongoose gets established here, you can kiss the Nene and other egg-laying endangered native species goodbye.

4. Claim- "And, regarding threats to whales...the Superferry's "mitigation" responses to these challenges probably makes this boat less of a threat than the hundreds of "whale watch" tour boats...Again, there is some risk here, yet probably not large."

Response- "Less of a threat" how so? When whale watch boats have infrequently had accidental collisions with whales, they almost never result in the whale's death, as the whale watch boats are relatively small and moving slowly. Inertia, mass and velocity, are what determine the threat of fatal collisions between boats and whales as has been documented about every couple of months in places like the Canary Islands. So far, the ferry here has not operated consistently or at all in Jan., Feb., or Mar. last season. It remains to be seen what its track record will be operating daily during the height of the whales season here, assuming it can handle the Winter sea conditions and not run into other mechanical problems again as it did last Winter.

5. Claim- "Conceivably, the ferries could be a win-win…As in: keep the travel AND cut the [CO2] emissions."

Response- It's not a win for the company, because they have not and probably never will actually cover all of their costs, much less the significant costs they have been able to formally externalize to the State. As for less CO2 emissions, I am not convinced that burning 400 gallons of jet fuel releases more CO2 to the environment than burning 6000 gallons of diesel fuel to cover the same route.

Aloha, Brad

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John Tyler, owner.
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The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

-- Chinese proverb

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Superferry begins seasonal voyage into seasickness

Superferry begins seasonal voyage into seasickness

by Larry Geller

As we head into Winter, the seas around Hawaii will begin to get choppy. Bouncing in the middle of it all is the Hawaii Superferry, now with increased passenger load, headed for another barf-filled season. It's inevitable and predictable. Here's possibly the first report of the season, with thanks to Dick Mayer.

Blogs started as personal "journals," and many still are. So it's interesting to see this account of a Superferry voyage as part of a blog post on a Maui vacation:

So we just got back from our vacation on neighbor-island Maui (not neighboring and NOT outer island).  We took the Superferry (huge mistake) and stayed at the all-suites Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea.  Hung out in Wailea the whole time and had a blast.  Since we already live on a tropical island, wasn't sure how "vacation-y" it would feel, but it was so much fun.  We can't wait to visit more islands.

First, the Hawaii Superferry.  We chose to take the Superferry because we thought it would be a fun experience and a convenient way to take our car.  Wrong.  I was so seasick, I made frantic calls on the Superferry to the reservations desk to cancel my return trip.  It was 3+ miserable hours.  Joe and kids did okay, but we (foolishly) sat in first class at the bow (front) of the ship which made it extra rocky!  Joe returned on the ferry with the car, and the kids and I flew back.  It was about the same price and only a 34 minute plane ride.

This is news that is not filtered through a newspaper that runs Superferry ads, it's real. The author talks about all the al fresco dining on Maui, and ABC stores, so I think we're looking at a genuine tourist experience.

Permalink posted by Larry @ 10/14/2008 11:11:00 AM


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

-- Chinese proverb

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Second Superferry on budget and ahead of schedule for Hawaii Delivery

Well folks,
Now they're not even hiding the fact the new SF is to benefit the military.... see the inconspicuous last line of the news report...

Second Superferry on budget and ahead of schedule for Hawaii delivery

MOBILE, Ala. — Hawaii Superferry's second catamaran is nearing completion here.

The new vessel, destined to link Honolulu and the Big Island next year, left Austal USA's ship shed on the Mobile River into a floating dry dock Monday.


Austal President Joe Rella called the launch "ahead of schedule and on budget."

The vessel, which has not yet been named, will head back to Austal for final work before sea trials begin later this year.

Austal reports it is ahead of schedule on its contracted March delivery date, and on budget for "the largest aluminum catamaran vessel delivered in the U.S."

The vessel is about 20 feet longer than the 350-foot Alakai because of a stern ramp added for military use.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Maui ocean resources finding way onto ferry

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dick Mayer <dickmayer@earthlink.net>
Date: Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Maui ocean resources finding way onto ferry
To: Dick Mayer <dickmayer@earthlink.net>

HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN       Saturday, September 20, 2008

Maui ocean resources finding way onto ferry

By Gary T. Kubota    gkubota@starbulletin.com

WAILUKU » Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said she was "gravely" worried about attempts to take prohibited resources from waters around the Valley Isle and bring them aboard the Hawaii Superferry.

"I am appalled by the reported amount of marine resources that are leaving our island with Superferry passengers," she said.

During a state oversight task force meeting yesterday, enforcement officers reported that in the first half of August, they found passengers trying to take aboard 63 pounds of opihi, 60 pounds of fish and 43 pounds of limu.

Tavares said in a written statement that she wants state agricultural and conservation officials to continue inspections beyond December.

State conservation enforcement officers have been assigned to work with Superferry employees to inspect passenger belongings through the end of December and to assist the task force in preparing a report.

The task force report is expected to be presented to the Legislature by January.

Tavares said state enforcement officers are needed to conduct the inspections.

"The years of education and training they bring to the operation cannot be replaced by a handful of hours of training that Superferry employees receive," she said.

State conservation enforcement official Randy Awo said there has been a rise in the volume of ocean resources that passengers have tried to bring aboard the Superferry, including fish, limu and opihi.

In response to Maui residents' concerns, a state executive order banned using the Superferry to transport many ocean resources.

Superferry official Richard Houck said he felt his employees were capable of doing the inspections and the taking of ocean resources has been small.

John Tyler, owner.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Court appeal hangs over Superferry

Court appeal hangs over Superferry

Three groups are challenging a law that allowed the ship to begin interisland trips

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Sunday, August 24, 2008
By Ken Kobayashi

One year after a Hawaii Supreme Court decision that led to a temporary halt of Superferry operations, the interisland service enjoys increased ridership and plans to expand to the Big Island next year.

The legislative power over the lands owned by or under the control of the State and its political subdivisions shall be exercised only by general laws, except in respect to transfers to or for the use of the State, or a political subdivision, or any department or agency thereof.

The Superferry survived thanks to the state Legislature, which passed a law that essentially negated the high court's ruling of Aug. 23, 2007. But the Superferry must still overcome a remaining legal hurdle to continue its twice-daily service between Honolulu and Kahului Harbor on Maui. Three environmental groups - the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow Inc. and the Kahului Harbor Coalition - have filed an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the law, called Act 2.

If the groups prevail, the Superferry would be not be able to use the Kahului Harbor improvements built for the ferry until a review is completed on the impacts of the Superferry on the environment, a process that could take months.

While state and Superferry lawyers defend the law, one environmental lawyer said the challenge has merit.

"Ultimately, I think the Supreme Court will take very seriously this type of appeal," said David Henkin, staff attorney for Earthjustice, an environmental group not involved in the case.

Tom Fargo, Superferry president and chief executive officer, declined to speculate on what might happen if the Maui groups prevail. "It's impossible for me to comment on a hypothetical situation like that," he told the Star-Bulletin. "Nobody's crystal ball is that clear."

A ruling on the appeal is not expected for weeks, perhaps months.

Environmental Impact

The heart of the legal dispute is whether the state should conduct an environmental review of the Superferry operations before its 350-foot Alakai can bring passengers and cars to Maui.
The high court ruled that the state erred in determining in February 2005 that the Superferry operations were exempt from the review, which must be done under state law prior to the start of the activity.

The high court's unanimous opinion came five days before the ferry's planned inaugural voyages to Maui and Kauai.

The Aug. 23 ruling by the five justices set off a tumultuous week that included Superferry officials moving the start date two days ahead of schedule at a reduced $5 fare; Kauai protesters preventing the Alakai from docking at Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor; and Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza issuing a court order on Aug. 27 halting Superferry operations to Maui.

Two months later on Oct. 31, state lawmakers convened in a special session to pass a law that said the "unique and critical importance" of the ferry service warranted a change in the environmental laws. The law required the state to conduct an environmental review of the operations by preparing an environmental impact statement, but also allowed the Superferry to resume operations.

Act 2 was signed two days later by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Cardoza lifted his order Nov. 14. The Superferry's Alakai later resumed sailings to Maui. Sailings to Kauai remained on hold after Coast Guard officials recommended suspending service because of security concerns.

Draft Being Prepared

The environmental impact statement is a keystone of the state's environmental protection laws. For the Superferry, it requires a study of the service's impact on "the economic welfare, social welfare and cultural practices of the community and state" as well as on marine animals and plants, traffic, public safety and control of invasive species.
It also allows the public to express concerns about the proposed projects, according to state law. And it must consider ways to minimize any "adverse effects" and alternatives to the proposed action.

The state is preparing that statement, not only for Superferry operations on Maui, the subject of the legal dispute, but also for Kauai and the Big Island.

State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said 11 public hearings have been held around the state from March to May and hopes to complete the impact statement by June or July.

A draft statement is scheduled to be completed in October or November, at which time the public will have 45 days to comment on the draft. The state would then address those comments in preparing the final impact statement, he said.

Legislature's Role

The completion of the statement, however, will not resolve the legal dispute, according to Isaac Hall, the three Maui groups' lawyer, who calls the current effort to prepare an environmental statement "bogus."
Hall said that if Act 2 is declared unconstitutional, the state must redo the environmental impact statement because laws require that the state prepare the statement before the operation starts.

"If you prepare an EIS while the action is undertaken, it jeopardizes the validity of the statement," he said. "It's likely you'll tolerate more of the adverse impact of the project."

An environmental impact statement normally takes two or three years to prepare, Morioka said. But he also said the state might be able to rely on some data collected in the current process, which would shorten the time if the state had to redo an impact statement.

Whether the state has to start all over in preparing an impact statement, however, depends on the Maui groups' appeal of the law.

Some legal observers say they face an uphill fight. The rationale is that because the Legislature passed the state laws requiring an environmental review before a project gets under way, the lawmakers are free to change the law.

It's a point emphasized in the state's legal briefs.

"The judicial branch of government construes and interprets the laws that are relevant to disposition of a case, but does not itself legislate or make laws," Deputy Attorney General Dorothy Sellers said.

"The Legislature speaks for the people," she later added.

But the Maui groups cite two state constitutional provisions: Article 1, section 21 and Article 11, section 5. Hall argued that the provisions prohibit state lawmakers from passing a special law to benefit a single business enterprise, particularly when dealing with state lands, site of the Kahului Harbor improvements for the Superferry.

The reasoning is that the Legislature should be passing laws for the general welfare of the public and should not be cutting special deals on behalf of a single business, Hall told the Star-Bulletin.

Although the law refers to a "large capacity ferry vessel company," Hall argued that it's clear that Act 2 deals solely with Superferry.

Henkin said he believes the Maui groups have raised a "very serious claim, one that has a lot of appeal in terms of making sure our environmental laws can be effective in protecting us from unwise decisions ahead of time."

The State's Position

The state responded in its legal brief filed last week that Act 2 does not violate either constitutional provision. Superferry's legal brief incorporated the arguments by the state.

The law did not give anyone an "irrevocable grant" prohibited by Article 1, section 21 because Act 2 specifies it will be repealed on the 45th business day following the end of next year's legislative session or when the environmental impact statement is completed, whichever is earlier, the state argued.

The state also said Act 2 does not provide "special benefits and immunities" for the Superferry alone because the law applies to all large-capacity ferry vessels. The law also did not deal with exercising control over state lands, the state argued. Act 2 simply exempted large ferry vessels from the laws requiring an environmental review before a proposed activity, the state said.

The Maui groups failed to establish that it is "unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt (or by any standard)," the state said.

Rise in Ridership

While the appeal has been simmering, Superferry officials are touting an increase in ridership. They celebrated its 125,000th passenger last week and continued to plan for expanding to the Big Island and Kauai.
The Alakai carried 36,600 passengers between Honolulu and Maui in July, about a 40 percent increase from June, according to Superferry officials. The number of vehicles was 9,200, a 36 percent increase over June.

"Ridership is still very good," Fargo said. "I would say we're just about where we expected to be." He said they are targeting May to start service from Honolulu to Kawaihae Harbor on the Big Island using a second ferry, whose construction is about 80 percent complete.

For Kauai, he said, Superferry officials wanted to first establish a reliable track record of service to Maui, hear from Kauai residents and make sure they get reliable information about the interisland operation.

Fargo said they didn't have a firm date for the Kauai service, but said it would be after the state completes its impact statement.

During the now twice-daily trips to Maui, Fargo said, the Superferry has been "very diligent" about complying with environmental laws. No major issues involving violations of the law have surfaced, he said.

"Our goal is to meet and exceed the (environmental protection) standards because we believe them to be important also," he said.

Looking to High Court

But the final word on whether the state's current environmental review is adequate rests with the Hawaii Supreme Court, which a year ago yesterday shocked the state and Superferry officials.
With its ruling issued just days before the Superferry's inaugural voyages, the high court made clear that environmental laws must be followed, regardless of the potential harm to the business.

The appeal is with the Intermediate Court of Appeals, but Hall said he will ask that it be transferred to the high court because the appeal deals with matters of "great public importance" and whichever side loses in the Intermediate Court will likely ask the high court to review the ruling.

Hall said he has until early next month to respond to the arguments by the state and Superferry, the final legal briefs for the case.

He would not comment on whether he has a better chance with the five justices who would be considering the constitutionality of a law that shot down their decision.

Henkin doesn't think so. "I'm confident the justices are not going to be caught up in any kind of personal connection to round 1," he said. "I'm sure they will look at round 2 and give a neutrally fair and dispassionate decision."


The two state Constitution provisions cited by the Maui groups challenging the state law that allows the Superferry to operate before an environmental impact statement is completed:
Article 1, section 21 - Limitations of Special Privileges

The power of the State to act in the general welfare shall never be impaired by the making of any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities.
Article 11, section 5 - General laws required; exceptions

Key dates in the superferry legal battle

» Aug. 23, 2007: After hearing arguments earlier in the day, the Hawaii Supreme Court unanimously rules that environmental laws require the state to review the impact of the Superferry operations on the environment. The ruling overturned a 2005 decision by Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza.
» Aug. 24, 2007: Superferry officials announce they are moving up the scheduled launch by two days, and one-way fares will be reduced to $5 a person and $5 a vehicle.

» Aug. 26, 2007: Superferry's Alakai departs Honolulu to Kahului Harbor and returns, but the afternoon cruise to Kauai is met by protesters in the waters of Nawiliwili Harbor. Alakai returns to Honolulu Harbor.

» Aug. 27, 2007: Cardoza issues an order banning Superferry operations to Maui until the state conducts an environmental review. (The Maui court case does not directly apply to Nawiliwili Harbor, but Superferry and state officials follow the Coast Guard's recommendation in suspending service to Kauai because of security issues raised by the protest.)

» Oct. 31, 2007: The state Legislature passes Act 2, allowing the Superferry to operate while the state prepares an environmental impact statement. Act 2 says, "It is clearly in the public interest that a large capacity ferry vessel service should commence as soon as possible."

» Nov. 14, 2007: Because of Act 2, Cardoza lifts his ban on Superferry operations to Maui.

» Dec. 13, 2007: Superferry resumes service between Honolulu and Maui, although it is later disrupted by high waves and repairs.

» Feb. 29: Sierra Club and two other groups file formal notice that they will appeal Cardoza's ruling. Like all appeals, the case goes to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, the state's second-highest court, but the three groups will ask that the appeal go directly to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

» Aug. 18: The state and Superferry file legal briefs defending Act 2.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Superferry Military Link

from reporter Joan Conrow's blog, Kauai Eclectic

Superferry Military Link

I just checked out Larry Geller's Disappeared News blog and he has a very interesting post that confirms something that many of us have believed all along: the Hawaii Superferry is indeed intended for military purposes.

Larry quotes a report in today's edition of BYM Marine and Maritime News that contains this nugget:

Austal was recently awarded a new contract to provide additional features and equipment on the second Hawaii Superferry to facilitate its use by the military. This follows on from the long term charter, since 2001, of the Austal built 101 metre vehicle-passenger catamaran "WestPac Express" by the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) based on Okinawa, Japan. As an adapted commercial vessel "WestPac Express" has demonstrated the enormous flexibility, cost savings and efficiencies achievable by commercial fast ferry technology over conventional air or sea transport.

As you may recall, the company had sought federal funding to equip the second ferry with ramps that would allow the military vehicles to easily access the ship. Other documents indicated that Austal also wanted to add desalination and sewage treatment plants and widen the hull to facilitate military uses. The total price tag was $5 million.

The article also states that Austal USA, which built the Alakai, continues to participate in the process to secure the lucrative Navy contract to build Joint High Speed Vessels for the military. It states:

The Austal JHSV Team's low risk, proven technology solution combines the expertise of Austal USA, Austal Ships (Australia) and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS).

Austal USA's Mobile, Alabama shipyard is unique in having the proven infrastructure and trained workforce in place to design, construct, deliver and service 100 metre+ high speed ships in the US. Austal USA recently launched the 127 metre trimaran LCS-2 "Independence" combat ship for the US Navy and has under construction the second 107 metre Hawaii Superferry catamaran high speed vehicle-passenger ferry. In 2007 Austal USA delivered the first Hawaii Superferry "Alakai" for intra-island service in the Hawaiian islands.

Thanks, Larry, for picking up that bit of "news."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fwd: [boycottsuperferry.org] Superferry legal update

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Tyler <mysticseaswimmer@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 11:25 AM
Subject: [boycottsuperferry.org] Superferry legal update
To: superferryimpact@yahoogroups.com


SOURCE: RICHARD HOEPNER richoep@aloha.net

POSTED: 11 JULY 2008 - 7:00am EST

Superferry legal update

image above: poster of routes for Superferry posted on www.aloharents.com dated 6/12/08

by Richard Hoeppner on 9 July 2008

After the heart attack in May, along with the triple by-pass open heart surgery, the healing has been incredible, and I am just about back to a normal routine.

Legal developments are looking very positive. Dan Hempey has filed a brief that is brilliantly written to the Hawaii Supreme Court on Judge Valenciano's decision denying an injunction in our local court. Isaac Hall has filed his brief with the Hawaii Supreme Court on the Maui case that Judge Cardoza ruled superferry(sf) could not operate until an EIS was completed. That of course was overturned with Lingle's special session of the Legislature that resulted in Act II which exempted sf from Hawaii Environmental Protection Act(HEPA).

Hall's brief was spectacular in it's argument that Cardoza's decision could not be overturned by a legislative body, and that Act II itself violated both the Hawaii Constitution and the US Constitution.

Dan and Isaac have communicated and are working in concert on the two similar cases. Dan has filed an emergency appeal requesting the Supreme Court take the Kauai case directly, bypassing the appeal courts. Isaac has filed something similar requesting expedited service because Cardoza stated in his decision that there was a high probability that irreparable damage could result in sf operation without an EIS.

I have read both briefs and we are totally confident that the Hawaii Supreme Court will require sf to suspend operations until an independent EIS is completed. Our biggest problem on Kauai is budget. People for the Preservation of Kauai(PPK) has dissolved it's partnership with 1000 Friends of Kauai because it restricted PPK's ability to actively campaign against issues or persons going before the voters.
We therefore no longer have 501c3 status and donations are not tax deductible.

This primarily affected large contributions, but we are actively seeking smaller contributions to supplement our legal fund. We have won many battles but the war is not over. Please donate whatever you can without claiming the IRS exemption, to keep the legal battle afloat, to insure that sf will not be afloat to Kauai.

Checks can be made out to: People for the Preservation of Kauai, and mailed to PPK treasurer: Judie Lundborg, 4865G Nonou Rd., Kapaa, HI, 96746.

John Tyler
Kaua'i, Hawai'i

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Oahu men who allegedly took Maui rocks each fined $3,050

Oahu men who allegedly took Maui rocks each fined $3,050

Three Windward O'ahu men accused of illegally taking rocks from a Maui conservation district last year each will be fined $3,050, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources decided this morning.


Land board members, however, set in motion the possibility of a later presentation of the case before a hearings officer, which could reduce or increase the amount of fines.

On Aug. 28, Charlie K. Bright, Ralph Chun and Victor Fonoimoana allegedly took 934 river rocks from the Paukukalo Shoreline, placed them in three pick-up trucks, covered them with tarps and then drove to the Hawai'i Superferry's Kahului Terminal for a return trip to O'ahu.

The men were motivated to travel to Maui to replenish rocks for a church imu by the Superferry's offer of special $5 fares, Bright told the branch chief of the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

"Our bishop told us to come to Maui to get imu rocks because ours is old already, about 10 to 12 years old," Bright was quoted as saying in a report to the land board. "When they had the $5 ferry fares, our bishop said this is one good time to go to Maui to get new rocks. So we came to Maui. We went to Paukukalo because our bishop knew about this place. We use the rocks to kalua pig for the Boy Scouts to support them through our fundraisers. We had good intentions. It was for a good cause. We didn't know it was illegal or that we needed a permit."

The trucks remain in state custody until the fines are paid. The rocks are still stored on Maui, Sam Lemmo, who is head of the office of conservation and coastal lands.

Attorney Thomas Otake, who represents Bright, told the board that the men had written permission to take rocks from land belonging to a private landowner.

But Otake acknowledged that about 200 of the 900 rocks did come from public conservation land.

"They didn't do it for any financial gain," Otake said.

He called the men "as good as they come."

Former city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who represents Chun and Fonoimoana, told board members that he did not want to make a presentation today because of the possibility of criminal charges.

Board member Timothy Johns told Kaneshiro that attorney fees for his clients to go through a contested hearing could run well past the $2,000 fine imposed today, as well as the additional fines to cover administrative costs.

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Very Good List of Superferry Articles in chronological order.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: DM

Aloha,  Here is a great list of HSF articles:

The following articles track the progress of one of the
most controversial issues facing Hawai'i residents today.
(Most recent first)

Superferry lobbies for military upgrade
Company spends $210K on lobbyists to obtain funds for vehicle ramp

Hawaii Superferry has spent $210,000 since last summer to lobby for federal money to install features on its second high-speed catamaran to make it more attractive for military use. Lobbyists hired by Superferry approached the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense to help pay for a vehicle ramp and other improvements. The ramp would allow the new catamaran to load and unload vehicles at most large piers instead of relying on shore-based ramps and barges.

Vehicle inspections net contraband
Hawaii Superferry vehicle screeners continue to intercept 'opihi, lobsters, dead bees, fishing nets and muddy trucks at ports in Honolulu and Maui. State officials say the number of restricted items uncovered by screeners has grown with the increase in passengers aboard the new interisland ferry, which reported record bookings in May.

Lingle keeps lid on Superferry records
The Lingle administration, citing attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, has declined a request by The Advertiser to publicly release hundreds of e-mails and other documents related to its decision to exempt the Hawaii Superferry project from environmental review. State lawmakers had asked Lingle administration officials last year to disclose what, if any, legal advice they received before they exempted the project in February 2005. But the administration would not discuss the matter because of attorney-client privilege. Lawmakers wanted the information to determine whether the Lingle administration considered the legal risks before issuing the exemption.

Superferry operated in May at 29% of capacity
The Hawaii Superferry's 350-foot Alakai operated at less than a third of its capacity in May, its first full month of operations, members of the Hawaii Inter-Island Ferry Oversight Task Force were told Friday. Terry O'Halloran, Superferry director of business development, said the high-speed ferry hosted 21,882 passengers and 6,003 cars in May. However, that is only 29 percent of the ferry's capacity. Those figures average out to about 250 people and 70 vehicles per voyage, well below the ferry's capacity of 866 people and 282 vehicles per trip.

Audit: Superferry drove state actions
Lingle administration criticized for bypassing environmental review
The state may have compromised its environmental policy because of pressure from Hawaii Superferry executives who were worried about financing for the interisland ferry project, the state auditor has concluded. The auditor found that an internal June 2005 deadline imposed by Superferry executives "drove the process" and pushed the state Department of Transportation to bypass an environmental review. The deadline, according to the auditor, was tied to Superferry's agreement with Austal USA to secure financing to pay the Mobile, Ala.-based shipbuilder to construct two high-speed ferries. Maritime Administration officials told the auditor they did not set the June 2005 deadline as a condition of the loan guarantee.

$842 million upgrade to Hawaii harbors approved
The state Aloha Tower Development Corp. has been tapped to make $842 million in improvements to Hawai'i's commercial harbors over six years for the Department of Transportation. Lawmakers passed a bill yesterday essentially making the ATDC the development arm of the Transportation Department's Harbors Division. The DOT calls the bill "landmark legislation" that was badly needed because the agency is consumed with managing harbors and lacks resources to upgrade aging and cramped harbor facilities on such a large scale.

Ride 'really, really rough' – Superferry sails, but voyage not smooth; many suffer sickness
After a two-month layoff for repairs, the Hawaii Superferry returned to Kahului Harbor on Monday with a load of passengers facing no protests except the one in their bellies.
"It was one of the most miserable rides I've ever had," said Kim Lane of Seattle.
She and other family members were part of the first set of passengers disembarking from the 350-foot Alakai after it arrived at Kahului. They said they dealt with high swells and rough seas for most of the three-hour-plus sail between Oahu and Maui. Those conditions caused many passengers to fall ill. Terry O'Halloran, Superferry director of business development, disputed the report of many passengers being severely ill on the voyage, although he admitted the Honolulu-Kahului leg was rough.

Superferry returns to service
Hawaii Superferry will return to service Monday, soothing some concerns about interisland travel options in the wake of this week's shutdown of Aloha Airlines passenger flights. However, Superferry president and CEO John Garibaldi yesterday said the sooner-than-expected return of the company's high-speed catamaran Alakai is not related to the Aloha situation. The vessel, capable of carrying 866 people and 282 cars, was in drydock for repairs for six weeks and wasn't expected to resume Honolulu-to-Maui voyages until April 23. It is now back at Pier 19 at Honolulu Harbor and ready to sail, Garibaldi said.

Kaua'i group appeals Superferry rulings
Claiming that Hawaii Superferry profits do not trump federally mandated environmental requirements, attorneys filed an opening brief in the Intermediate Court of Appeals this week. Dan Hempey and Greg Meyers, attorneys for 1,000 Friends of Kaua'i, filed the appeal of two September 2007 rulings greenlighting the Hawaii Superferry despite its lacking an Environmental Assessment. Hawaii Superferry had claimed it would face financial strain if forced to stop operations while completing the EA.

Lessons of history lost on Superferry
In just a matter of months, the Hawaii Superferry has gone from heavy hype and polished promises to weather-beaten underdog status. The Alakai is sitting in drydock undergoing repairs like a formerly promising race horse back at the farm healing shin splints. The vessel has been there since the middle of February and is estimated to stay there through most of April. Didn't Superferry officials say they would have to take their business elsewhere if they stayed out of service for very long? Hmmm...

Kaua'i opposition to ferry still strong
About 120 Kaua'i residents met with state Department of Transportation officials yesterday and most opposed the return of the Hawaii Superferry to the Garden Isle. The Superferry began service between O'ahu and Kaua'i in August but was soon turned back by protesters on surfboards and in kayaks who blocked the entrance to Nawiliwili Harbor. More than six months later, opposition remains strong here, at least from those who attended two meetings yesterday at Kaua'i Community College.

Superferry in drydock till April 22
Hawaii Superferry is extending its drydock period through April 22 while the company continues repairs to its $85 million catamaran, the Alakai. The 350-foot high-speed vessel has not been operating since Feb. 13, and by the time the interisland ferry returns to service, it will have been out of service for more days than it has been running since its Dec. 13 relaunch.
Hawaii Superferry originally announced it would be in drydock until March 3 to strengthen the metal surrounding the auxiliary rudders after cracks were found. When the aluminum hull sustained damage during the drydocking process, the company delayed the restart of service until March 25.

Ferry opponents appeal Nov. decision, say lawmakers' action was 'special legislation'
Hawaii Superferry opponents filed an appeal of a court decision that has allowed the 350-foot ferry to operate while the state prepares an environmental assessment of ferry-related Kahului Harbor improvements. At issue now is whether Act 2 is unconstitutional. During a special session last year, the Legislature passed the act allowing "large-capacity vessels," such as the ferry, to operate an interisland service pending the completion of an environmental review. The Maui Tomorrow Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Kahului Harbor Coalition have successfully argued in court that an environmental assessment is required for the ferry. Now the ferry opponents contend that Act 2 unconstitutionally circumvents Hawaii's environmental law and is aimed at helping a single business.
See also –
Foes fight ferry's environmental OK

Rough sailing forces Superferry on early break
Hawaii Superferry, plagued by weather and equipment-related shutdowns and low ridership levels, said yesterday it will place its vessel into dry dock for nearly three weeks for maintenance and recertification by the U.S. Coast Guard. 02.09.08

Check the latest news from the DOT at the
Hawaii Inter-Island Large Capacity Ferry Vessel-Oversight Task Force page

Superferry toughing out winter weather
How long can the Hawaii Superferry hang on? That's a question many are asking after eight straight days of canceled voyages due to bad weather, vessel repairs and other setbacks the company has suffered since its Dec. 13 relaunch.
Since then, it has been operating with only a third of its anticipated passenger load, and rough seas and other problems have led it to cancel its daily roundtrip between Honolulu and Maui a total of 14 days. Company filings with the Public Utilities Commission indicated the ferry anticipated being out of service only 10 days a year because of foul weather, maintenance and other issues.
Hawaii Superferry president and CEO John Garibaldi said the ferry is averaging about 150 bookings a trip, while the planned passenger load was 410. The Alakai can carry 866 people and 282 cars. 02.03.08

$350,000 tugboat service needed to support Superferry
The state Department of Transportation said 10 weeks of daily tugboat service — at a cost of $350,000 — is needed at Kahului Harbor to support Hawaii Superferry operations. The tug service is necessary to keep a state-owned barge snug against the end of Pier 2C during ocean surges and to provide safe loading and unloading of passengers and vehicles, according to a request filed Friday to exempt the contract from state procurement rules. Without the assistance, the state could be liable for damage claims by the Superferry of $18,000 a day if it cannot meet its obligation to provide barges with mooring systems to enable ferry operations, the request said.
Read the
ferry traffic report here (PDF file)

U.S.S. Superferry?
Hawaii Superferry — now running (weather permitting) between Oahu and Maui, thanks to a gubernatorial and legislative override of a State Supreme Court ruling — has been officially touted as a way to bring ohana together and provide a transportation alternative. However, in light of the U. S. Navy's current push to quickly expand its fleet with a new type of fast and versatile vessel, Hawaii Superferry (HSF) — chaired by former Navy Secretary and 9/11 Commission member John F. Lehman —may also be using Hawaiian waters to demonstrate the performance of its Austal USA catamaran, the Alakai, and prove its efficacy for military purposes.
At stake are U.S. defense contracts potentially worth billions, and possible sales to foreign navies, according to a defense industry consultant in San Diego who asked not to be named. The Superferry is being tested in Hawaii to qualify the design for military contracts and also for sale to the navies of India and Indonesia, the consultant said.

Superferry traffic far below estimates
'Emergency situation' cited by company in letter to state agency
The Hawaii Superferry is in an "emergency situation" with so few passengers that its ability to continue running between Oahu and Maui is imperiled, according to a letter written last month by attorneys for the Superferry.
The Superferry vessel Alakai, which can seat 866 passengers, is averaging only 150 passengers per day, far below its planned ridership of 410, according to the Dec. 21 letter from Superferry attorneys Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. The letter was sent to the state Public Utilities Commission requesting an extension of the Superferry's $39 one-way promotional fares through June 5.
Attorney Audrey Ng wrote that Hawaii Superferry "must increase its business immediately" to address weak bookings, interisland airline competition and continuing litigation and protests; to pay for fixed expenses as well as to compensate for repeated delays; and to start a second Maui trip.

Hawaii Superferry Postpones Second Voyage Between Maui and Oahu
In consideration of Mayor Tavares' concerns, Hawaii Superferry today announced it is postponing its second voyage between Maui and O'ahu. The company anticipates starting the second voyage later this spring.

Fighting invasive species in Hawai'i
Invasive species have been a problem in Hawai'i since the first Polynesians set foot on these Islands, bringing rats and pigs that centuries later continue to threaten fragile and unique ecosystems. The onslaught of imported pests has only multiplied as subsequent arrivals introduced new plants, animals and bugs to Hawai'i - sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose.
The recent controversy over the Hawaii Superferry, the state's newest mode of interisland travel, spotlighted the invasive-species issue and exposed weaknesses in prevention and control programs that are likely to be discussed during the upcoming 24th Legislature, according to state Rep. Clifton Tsuji, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
"Hawai'i is a welcome wagon for invasive species, and we have an obligation to preserve the ecology that has evolved over the centuries," said Tsuji, D-3rd (South Hilo, Puna, Kea'au). "We have to really meet these invasive species head-on, out front, and not become reactionary."

Hawai'i, ferry at odds in '04 over environment
Staff at the state Department of Transportation told Hawaii Superferry in October 2004 that a statewide environmental assessment would be required for the new interisland ferry service. But Superferry executives resisted and, within two days, scaled back the project in a calculated attempt to get an exemption from the state's environmental review law, state records show.
Some in the department not only thought Superferry should be responsible for doing an environmental assessment — one described it as the "right thing to do" — but also seriously considered doing an environmental review of the state's $40 million in harbor improvements for Superferry.

Superferry announces second trip to Maui
Hawaii Superferry's announcement Friday of a second round-trip voyage this month between Maui and Oahu riled critics, who questioned the ferry's traffic impacts and the greater risk of nighttime whale collisions.
"It's timing is really bad for Maui, proving once again that this is for Oahu people, not Maui people," said Karen Chun, Web master for Save Kahului Harbor, which organized ferry protests last month.
The second trip between the islands doesn't help Maui residents because they couldn't go to Oahu, spend some time there and return the same day, Chun said.

Mayor Tavares addresses Superferry expansion

Superferry Oversight Task Force report (PDF file)

Ferry halts for third day
Strong winds and high seas have pushed the Hawaii Superferry back into port for the third straight day today and could keep it there tomorrow, officials said. While ferry officials canceled hundreds of passengers' trips between Maui and Oahu this week, they say that they expected days like this during the month of December.
"When we came into this market, we knew that there would be days that we would be canceling due to sea conditions," said Terry O'Halloran, Superferry director of business development. "From the data we've gathered, December historically has the highest sea conditions." O'Halloran declined to say how much money the Superferry is losing because of the cancellations.

Superferry Finally Sails
But as the high-speed vessel neared its destination, the idyllic excursion transformed into a spectacle never before seen on Maui. A swarm of helicopters hovered over the crowded harbor as U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats knifed through the choppy waters, circling a floating orange perimeter fence surrounding Pier 2. Flanked by Maui Police Department and Coast Guard officials, more than 100 residents descended on Kahului Harbor with an arsenal of homemade banners and signs.

Riding the Superferry
Read two viewpoints from people who gave the ferry a trial run, and check out some photographs of the Kahului Harbor activity when the ferry came to Maui.

View the
Coast Guard map and rules of the security zone that will be enforced whenever the ferry is due to arrive at the harbor.

Superferry protesters shift focus
Protesters of the Hawaii Superferry made their largest showing yet Saturday morning and likely their last for the foreseeable future, organizers said. Irene Bowie, executive director of Maui Tomorrow, announced that they instead intend to contest the high-speed ferry's operations with an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court - which previously ruled that an environmental assessment should be completed on the ferry operation using state harbors.

Damage at Kahului Harbor forces a second cancellation of the Superferry's Maui route
The Hawaii Superferry was forced to cancel its startup Oahu-Maui run for the second time due to damage to Kahului Harbor improvements from wave action. This time, mooring posts tied by lines to the docking barge were pulled from the pier by unusually high waves Monday. It will take at least three days to reset just one of the posts.

Rally for Maui – Let Your Voice Be Heard has been rescheduled to Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007.  Due to an operations delay Hawaii Superferry announced today that damage to their barge in Kahului  Harbor is greater than previously thought and the ferry's start date has been moved back. Updated information on Rally for Maui will be available on this site and at www.savekahuluiharbor.com
(see also Maui rally planned to oppose Hawaii ferry)
(view the
Coast Guard map and rules of the proposed security zone)

Security for ferry upsets protesters
Hawaii Superferry opponents are crying foul over the Coast Guard's security plans for the ferry's return to Maui next week. Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said the security zone around the Superferry is broader than she expected and appears to be overkill given the absence of civil disobedience on the Valley Isle.
"I'm stunned by the heavy-handedness of this," she said. "I think with this there's going to be a lot more people alienated."
Vessels and surfboards could be confiscated and violators arrested on a felony charge if a security zone is breached around the Superferry as it completes its Oahu-Maui transit into Kahului Harbor starting Dec. 6, the Coast Guard warned yesterday in announcing security plans for the ferry's return.
A protest at the harbor is scheduled for Dec. 8. Gov. Linda Lingle said she does not have concerns about protests on Maui. "Generally speaking, I think people will respect the law," she said.

11.16.07 – Hawaii Superferry readying for protests
As the Hawaii Superferry prepares to sail again after winning challenges in court and at the state Capitol, the company now faces its most daunting obstacle -- more protests in the water. The Coast Guard has been thrust into the middle of the emotional showdown and is now being forced into the difficult, unusual and possibly dangerous task of arresting Americans. Coast Guard personnel previously failed to provide safe passage for the vessel as protesters heckled and splashed them with water. But the Coast Guard has repeatedly warned it will take immediate action next time around.

Superferry's Kahului barge breaks loose
Just after a Maui judge said the ferry Alakai could soon resume operating in Kahului Harbor on Wednesday, the docking barge that serves the ferry snapped a mooring cable and began pounding the end of Pier 2. Only minor damage was inflicted before harbor tugs were able to first stabilize the barge and then move it up against the side of Pier 2, away from the end of the dock where an early-winter swell apparently was more than it could handle.
The incident opened a question about the viability of the ferry operations at Kahului, which is subject to severe north swells during the winter months. The occasions were reckoned to be few. But the huge barge got in trouble in the first north swell it encountered, and it wasn't a big swell

11.15.07 –
Ferry to get back in the flow
Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza lifted an injunction yesterday against the Hawaii Superferry, clearing the way for it to resume operation. Cardoza declined to overturn recent state legislation authorizing large-capacity ferry vessels such as the Superferry to operate in Hawaii during an environmental study.
Attorney Isaac Hall, representing citizen groups Maui Tomorrow, the Sierra Club and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, said his groups might appeal Cardoza's decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court.
(see also – Politicians applaud judge's ruling and
Special legislation? Judge didn't think so)

11.07.07 –
Maui judge to hear Superferry motion on Nov. 14
Nov. 14 is the earliest the Hawaii Superferry could be cleared to resume sailings to Maui. At a hearing today in Maui Circuit Court, Judge Joseph Cardoza picked that date to consider whether to dissolve a preliminary injunction that has kept the high-speed, interisland ferry from calling at Kahului Harbor.

11.01.07 –
Superferry might return in 2 weeks
Legislators approve measure, protesters say they will be back
The state Legislature gave final approval yesterday to a bill allowing the Hawaii Superferry to sail while an environmental study is completed.
Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to sign it, and the Superferry's top executive says he is hopeful the service can be running again by Nov. 15.
Superferry Chief Executive Officer John Garibaldi says there still are some procedural hurdles to overcome, but the company will immediately begin work on its restart plan.
A Kauai protest leader said his group expects the bill will result in more crowds and more protesters when the Superferry returns to the neighbor islands.

11.01.01 –
House gives final OK to Hawaii Superferry bill
The state House yesterday gave final approval to a bill to help Hawaii Superferry resume service as several lawmakers asked Gov. Linda Lingle and Superferry executives to join them in trying to heal divisions over the project. The House voted 39-11 in favor of allowing the ferry to resume service under operating conditions to protect whales and deter the spread of invasive species while the state conducts an environmental review. The state Senate passed the bill 20-5 on Monday. Lingle is expected to sign the bill into law. Superferry executives hope to hire back the 249 workers furloughed last month and restart ferry service by Nov. 15.

10.31.07 –
Legislature bails out SuperferryCasting sustainability aside, the legislature exempts high-speed ferry from keystone environmental review law
The Hawai`i State Legislature, operating on a threat from Hawai`i Superferry that they will leave the state if they are not granted a special privilege to circumvent Hawaii's environmental law, passed a bill permitting the Superferry to begin operations before an environmental review is complete. Throughout the special session called by Governor Linda Lingle expressly to bail out the Superferry, the Sierra Club argued that the session sets an unfair and dangerous precedent, damages Hawaii's three-decade old environmental protection act, and may expose Hawaii's environment to irreparable harms.

10.30.07 –
Final vote for Hawaii Superferry nears
A compromise bill that would allow Hawaii Superferry to resume service while the state conducts an environmental review is ready for a final vote tomorrow after the state Senate approved it yesterday and state House committees moved it to the House floor.
The state Senate voted 20-5 in favor of the bill but several senators voted with reservations because they were uncomfortable about coming back into special session to overturn the courts and help Superferry. The House committees sent the Senate's version to the floor without any changes, but only after lawmakers spent much of the afternoon and evening questioning Gov. Linda Lingle and the Superferry's president on the circumstances that led to a special session.

House passes Hawaii Superferry bill as is
The state House yesterday defeated a proposed amendment to a Hawaii Superferry bill that would have required the ferry to slow down to under 13 knots in shallow waters to protect whales and wash the undercarriages of vehicles to prevent the spread of invasive species.
The amendment by state Rep. Hermina Morita also would have required Superferry, instead of the state, to pay for an environmental impact statement that would be regulated by the state's Public Utilities Commission.
But the House rejected Morita's amendment and passed the original Superferry bill that was introduced at the start of special session, moving it to the Senate.

10.23.07 –
Maui opposes Hawaii Superferry bailout
A state Senate panel yesterday witnessed an eruption of pent-up anger and frustration from people on both sides of the Hawaii Superferry controversy. A raucous crowd of about 400 attended the second stop of a three-island series of informational meetings on a draft bill that would allow the interisland ferry to operate while the state conducts an environmental study.
The Maui meeting was particularly charged because the draft bill and a special session expected to be convened to pass it would undo a successful 2 1/2-year court challenge filed by Maui residents pushing for an environmental assessment.
Read a report from inside the Maui hearing on Tuesday, 10/23

Group pushes rules on ferry
Maui environmentalists who successfully sued to stop the Hawaii Superferry are proposing 29 conditions that the Legislature must include in any new law allowing the Superferry to resume service. Proposed conditions include requiring passengers to say if they were using the Superferry to go camping on another island, and then only allowing passengers who have permits to camp in federal state or county parks to be allowed.
Also, the Superferry would be required to post a $40 million bond to pay the state for the money owed it for state harbor improvements in case the ferry leaves the state.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa met with the environmentalists yesterday but did not promise to include any of the conditions in the bill now under consideration. Republican Senate leader Fred Hemmings called the environmentalists' proposal "ludicrous."
The Legislature plans to go into special session next week to consider a bill to allow the Superferry Alakai to operate while an environmental study is done.

Activists oppose Hawaii Superferry reprieve
Environmentalists from Maui warned state lawmakers yesterday of the potential for irreparable harm if they allow Hawaii Superferry to resume service before an environmental review is conducted.
"We are totally opposed to this bill. We do not want to see it passed," said Isaac Hall, the attorney for Maui Tomorrow, which was among the groups that persuaded the state Supreme Court that an environmental review of the project is necessary. A Maui court ruled that Superferry could not use Kahului Harbor on Maui until the review is completed.

Hawaii ferry spent $175,000 on lobbying
Hawaii Superferry officials spent more than $175,000 over three years on lobbying and campaign contributions, including dozens of donations to Gov. Linda Lingle, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and other key state legislators.
"You're talking about an extremely large sum of money even by national standards," said Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert with Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group. "At the very least, they are trying to buy access, and at the worst they are trying to buy influence."

10.09.07 –
Maui judge: Superferry can't operate during environment study
A Maui judge said Tuesday he won't allow Hawaii Superferry to sail between Honolulu and Kahului while the state studies the environmental impact of the interisland ferry service.
Hawaii Superferry officials have said they would have to leave the state if they're not allowed to operate while the environmental review is carried out. But Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza said state law requires that an environmental study be conducted beforehand.
"The purpose of the law is to protect the environment, not to protect economic interests," Cardoza said.
(read Cardoza's full decision by downloading a PDF file here)

10.09.07 –
Hawaii Superferry's woes likely to continue
Even if today's Maui court ruling allows Hawaii Superferry to resume service to Kahului Harbor, the company may still face stormy seas. Maui groups worried about the potential environmental impact of the Hawaii Superferry so far have prevailed by relying on the state's legal system. But if Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza sides with the company and the state Department of Transportation, observers say the vessel likely will be met by protests when it reaches Kahului.
"I can tell you the Superferry certainly would not be greeted with open arms. I don't know if people would jump into the harbor and block them," said Karen Chun, a canoe paddler who has long been involved in issues surrounding the state's development of Kahului Harbor.
"There is a level of anger not just directed at the Superferry, but it could be a catalyzing force."

10.07.07 –
No smooth political sailing for Hawaii ferry
As state lawmakers discuss a possible special session to help Hawaii Superferry, several observers said they cannot recall a comparable example where the Legislature returned to save a development project in the midst of such intense public controversy.

09.27.07 –
Superferry heading to high court -- again
Legislative leaders want to see the Hawaii Superferry succeed so are poised for a special session
Kauai group drops suit, will pursue appeal
Transportation chief frets over ferry setback

09.27.07 –
Hawaii harbor users could get ferry tab
If the Hawaii Superferry leaves the state, other harbor users will have to pick up the tab for $40 million in ferry-related improvements at four ports, according to Department of Transportation officials.

Superferry sets its own deadline
The company's CEO says information is needed to determine whether it can survive

Big Island man objects in Superferry procurement issue
Two men have filed objections over the Transportation Department's request for exemption from the state's procurement code in awarding a contract to conduct the environmental assessment for the Superferry's use of state harbors. On Thursday, Jeff Sacher of Kawaihae and Rob Parsons of Haiku filed the objection with the state procurement officer through their lawyer, Wailuku attorney Lance D. Collins.

Maui ban on Hawaii Superferry extended
Judge Joseph Cardoza yesterday agreed to extend the ban on Hawaii Superferry's use of Kahului Harbor, via a preliminary injunction, at least until he reaches a decision. Cardoza had issued a temporary restraining order to that effect on Aug. 27, but such orders cannot be extended beyond 20 days. Although a similar case is pending in Kaua'i Circuit Court, the vessel is being allowed to resume service to Nawiliwili Harbor on Sept. 26.

09.12.07 –
Governer Lingle stresses public safety in Superferry's resumption of service to Kaua'i
Click here to read the summary of state law consequences
Governor Linda Lingle today announced today that the Hawai'i Superferry will resume service to Kaua'i starting Wednesday, September 26 on a temporary daylight schedule. The Governor also stressed that federal, state and county law enforcement agencies will strictly enforce a temporary security zone established at Nawiliwili Harbor by the United States Coast Guard. 

09.11.07 –
Biologist says risk of Superferry colliding with whale is 'very high'

09.10.07Hawaii Superferry a threat to whales, court witness says
Marine biologist Hannah Bernard was the sole witness to testify today in the first day of a Maui Circuit Court hearing to decide whether the Hawaii Superferry can operate while the state conducts an environmental assessment of ferry-related projects at four state harbors. Bernard said the Superferry's 350-foot catamaran and other large, fast-moving vessels are a particular threat to humpback whales and other species.

Failure to complete study set Superferry on doomed course
The Hawaii Superferry presents a classic case of how not to do business in Hawaii. Three years ago the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and Kahului Harbor Coalition asked the Hawaii Superferry and the Lingle administration to complete an environmental review of the Superferry. Unknown environmental and public safety risks, concerned neighbor island communities and a clear reading of the law demanded it. The review would have occurred while other planning proceeded. The administration and Superferry corporation, however, decided to gamble and chose to skip this mandatory environmental disclosure process. A unanimous Supreme Court decision – announced just hours after oral argument – called their bluff.

Hawaii Superferry Stopped in Nawiliwili Harbor

Superferry ordered to do environmental assessment
The Hawai'i Supreme Court this afternoon ruled that the state should have conducted an environmental study on its improvements to island harbors for the Hawaii Superferry operation scheduled to start next week. The decision is a major legal setback for the Superferry, but Superferry lawyers were not immediately available for comment as to whether the operations will start as scheduled on Tuesday.

08.15.07 – Aloha, Citizens for Superferry Sanity;
 We have exchanged information, inspiration, and fellowship during the past two and a half years as this big-money, pet project has made its way like a snake through the grass, heading for our shores.  It has been great to share mana'o with so many worthwhile, dedicated, creative and fun-loving fellow citizens.
 In a week the Hawaii State Supreme Court will be hearing our oral arguments on the main point we have all been making. This misbegotten beast of a project needs to obey the law and comply with Chapter 343 HRS regarding environmental review. The fact that the Court is requesting oral arguments is a positive sign that our legal appeal is being taken seriously. Also in our favor is the fact that we were able to get a favorable declaratory ruling from the State's own Environmental Council in February that an environmental review of the Hawaii Superferry was needed.
 Those of us on Maui who are the plaintiffs in these legal appeals now need your kokua. The four groups which have been involved in these efforts have raised over $30,000 for four separate legal efforts.  We will need to augment that with another $20,000 soon.
 We appreciate that some of you have generously contributed to these legal efforts in the past. We also appreciate that some of you are contemplating your own legal actions. We, however, humbly request your support in this time of impending resolution of our legal challenges.
 If you are willing and able to donate (it's tax deductible!), please send contributions (check or MasterCard/Visa) to: 
Maui Tomorrow Foundation Inc., PO Box 299, Makawao, Hawaii 96768
Or contact Irene Bowie, Maui Tomorrow Executive Director
(phone: 808.268.0303 or e-mail: 
director@maui-tomorrow.org )
   Mahalo nui loa and IMUA!
 Lucienne de Naie & Ron Sturtz, for Maui Tomorrow

07.15.07 –
Hawaii Superferry foes eager to go to court
With harbor improvements for the Hawaii Superferry reported to be on track, the only apparent threat to the start of the interisland ferry service is two pending court cases with hearings set for next month. Both challenges involve questions about the need for adequate environmental impact studies on the publicly funded port projects for the new service, which will transport passengers and vehicles between Honolulu, Maui, Kaua'i and the Big Island. The best hope for the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition to delay Superferry operations rests with an appeal of a July 2005 ruling by Maui Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza.

07.02.07 –
Superferry case goes to Hawai'i Supreme Court
The Hawaii Supreme Court will hear Oral Argument on whether the Hawai'i Superferry was illegally granted an exemption from Chapter 343 of the Hawai'i revised statutes which requires an Environmental Impact Statement for projects using public funds. This is an appeal of 2nd Circuit Court Judge Cardoza's earlier ruling. The case has been scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on August 15, 2007.

05.31.07Maui Tomorrow and County of Maui Move Forward with their Case
Judge Joel August ruled that the Hawaii Department of Transportation's FONSI (Finding of NO significant impact) for the changes at Kahului Harbor was insufficient.  He stated specifically that the examination of traffic issues was inadequate. 
This is the case in which Maui Tomorrow, the Kahului Harbor Coalition and the County of Maui have joined together as plaintiffs, charging that the State's Environmental Assessment was incomplete.  Judge August asked that the parties come before him on Thursday, August 2 to determine what  relief measures can be required.
Although this decision does not directly involve the Hawaii Superferry "ship", the necessary traffic study will have to examine the impact of the HSF operations bringing up to 280 vehicles into the affected area two time each day (mid-mornings and evenings), and the loading of up to an additional 280 vehicles onto the ferry.
Furthermore, it is expected that there will be many other vehicles (taxis, busses, rental vehicles, etc.) delivering and picking up Hawaii Superferry passengers.  The traffic study will also have to consider the closing of the road between Pier 2 and Pier 1 because that was caused by the Superferry's need for space.  Finally, to get a proper analysis of traffic impacts, it will be necessary to include the huge 450 residential housing unit and commercial center that is soon to be constructed on the site of the Old Kahului Shopping Center (where Ah Fooks burnt down).
Read more about this issue:
State traffic assessment fails a test and see photos at: Anti-Superferry demonstrators clog Maui traffic

03.30.07 – Souki again sinks Superferry EIS
Maui Rep. Joe Souki has blocked a second bill in the 2007 Legislature that would have required an environmental impact statement on the Hawaii Superferry, repeating his argument that it's unfair to pick on a single harbor user. Souki, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, refused to schedule Senate Bill 702 for a hearing by the committee, effectively killing the bill. It would be wasteful since the state already will prepare an impact statement on the Kahului Harbor 2030 master plan, he said.

03.11.07 –
Kahului Harbor EIS needed a decade ago
An environmental impact statement is needed to identify and propose mitigative measures on traffic increases on congested Kahului roadways, on the need for space in land-tight Kahului and Lihue, on a need for safety measures to separate cargo from passengers, on the potential for introduction of unwanted pests, not only aboard the Superferry but in cargo and on passengers from cruise ships, overseas containers and Young Brothers barges.

Revised bill could delay Superferry
First hailed as a compromise on the controversial Hawaii Superferry, a bill that passed the Senate is now being called "problematic" by ferry officials. And if it becomes law, they said, the interisland service cannot start this summer.

03.06.07 –
Superferry EIS is right and legal thing to do
By Sens. J. Kalani English, Gary L. Hooser, Russell S. Kokubun and Shan S. Tsutsui
With the Hawai'i Superferry scheduled to begin operations in July, a cursory review of the Neighbor Island harbor facilities shows that negligible improvements have been made to these areas. There are no bathrooms, no ticket booths, no security screening areas and no vehicular "wash down" facilities. At Kahului and Nawiliwili there will be a "tent" put up as a passenger holding area, and portable toilets will be provided. There will be no parking provided at all, and minimal, if any, improvements made to the adjacent roadway infrastructure.

02.25.07 –
Refuting the Myths: Hawaii  Superferry facts  add  clarity  to  the  murky  debate
by Ron Sturtz, President of Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc
Many people have asked that I provide a factual overview of the potential environmental impacts of the Hawaii Superferry, and the status of current legal challenges.  I hope that the following facts - in response to a few well-intentioned and passionate, but misinformed letters, editorials and news reports – will be helpful to the discussion.

02.23.07 –
State Environmental Council Issues Opinion: Superferry Exemption from EIS is wrong
The State Environmental Council, the advisory commission to the Office of Environmental Quality Control, issued an opinion on Thursday that "the State Department of Transportation erred when it granted to the Hawaii Superferry an exemption from the requirement to do an Environmental Impact Statement." In a 9:1 vote, with one abstention, the Council stated that the exemption granted by the DOT failed to take into consideration the cumulative and secondary environmental impacts of the Hawaii Superferry project.

02.23.07 –
Hawaii Superferry Operational Plan & Commitments

02.15.07 – 'Big concerns' over Superferry remain
A joint Senate committee approved a bill requiring an environmental impact statement be prepared on the Hawaii Superferry, although senators said significant legal issues need to be addressed. Senate Bill 1276 was approved by a joint session of the transportation and environment committees, after the committees went to Maui and Kauai last weekend to receive public comment that was virtually unanimous in favor of requiring an EIS.

02.12.07 –
Maui testifiers unanimous, want EIS for Superferry
Public misgivings about this summer's scheduled launch of the Hawaii Superferry resurfaced Saturday during a joint Senate committee meeting while a bill to demand an environmental study of the interisland ferry appeared to pick up steam. With public testimony statewide on a bill to require an environmental impact statement for the ferry running 13-to-1 in favor, Maui state Sens. J. Kalani English and Shan Tsutsui predicted Senate Bill 1276 would advance out of the Senate Transportation and International Affairs and Energy and Environment committees en route to debate on the Senate floor.

More On Super Shibai
Senator Gary Hooser's blog offers comments on Superferry

EIS has strong support from Kaua'i
The majority of residents who testified at a meeting on Kauai threw their support behind a Senate bill that would require Hawaii Superferry conduct a detailed environmental impact statement before beginning ferry operations in July. More than 120 people crowded into the historic County Building to hear all or part of the Senate committee hearing convened to discuss the bill. Those attending voiced concern the ferries might collide with federally protected marine life, increase traffic congestion, and bring more crime, homeless people and drugs to Kaua'i.

Senators told ship could hurt humpbacks
A state Senate joint committee was warned Wednesday of the likelihood that the Hawaii Superferry would strike and injure humpback whales during normal operations between the islands. An expert witness brought in by the Pacific Whale Foundation provided data on what the effects of the ferry operations could be, said Sen. Shan Tsutsui, whose Central Maui district includes Kahului Harbor.

Pacific Whale Foundation Testifies to Protect Whales
Pacific Whale Foundation President and Founder Greg Kaufman traveled to Honolulu to testify before two Hawaii State Senate Committees on the need for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to allowing operation of the Hawaii Superferry. Kaufman's testimony before the Senate Transportation and International Affairs Committee, and the Energy and Environment Commiteee, was in support of Senate Bill 1276, which would require an EIS for the Superferry.

01.19.07 –
Who will win: Hawaii Superferry or four state senators?
This week, shipbuilder Austal USA will launch the first of two 353-foot aluminum catamaran ferries in Mobile, Alabama for a series of open sea trials. They will deliver the first vessel to Hawaii Superferry in early spring. Also this week, the state Legislature begins its 2007 session. Four outer-island state senators will be sponsoring legislation to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before the inter-island fast-ferry venture commences, currently projected for this summer.

01.14.07 - Superferry to launch Thursday
This week will mark a milestone for Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama when it launches the first of two Hawaii Superferry craft from its south ship shed on the Mobile River. Work is under way in Mobile on the second vessel, scheduled for delivery in early 2009.

01.07.07 -
Superferry review sought
Four influential Neighbor Island state senators, who believe Hawai'i Superferry has not convincingly explained its possible effect on the Islands, will try to require an environmental impact statement before the scheduled launch of ferry service between O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i in July. The senators want a more thorough review of the Superferry even if it means delaying the launch.

12.13.06 -
Ferry compromise encouraged
An attorney for Maui County said she's "hopeful" that various groups can get together and resolve their differences rather than engage in a legal dispute over the proposed interisland Superferry.

12.08.06 -
State harbors chief grilled by judge over Kahului plans
The question before the court is whether three citizen groups and Maui County have a legitimate claim in a lawsuit seeking to require the state Department of Transportation to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the environmental effects of harbor expansion - including improvements for the Hawaii Superferry.

11.21.06 -
Slowing down could reduce whale injuries
It's distressing to see the increase in the number of collisions between ocean vessels and humpback whales. Researchers say we've had six collisions so far this year, up from four last year. And while that number might seem small, that increase should initiate discussion for speed limits in certain segments of our waters, with the hope of reducing the number of these accidents.

11.19.06 -
Kahului judged too busy for Superferry
Kahului Harbor can't meet all the future demand of cargo ships, cruise ships, the interisland Superferry and other users, said Maui Planning Director Mike Foley. The harbor is already too crowded, and there won't be enough room to accommodate increased traffic brought by barges, ferries, recreation vessels, small boats, fuel imports and storage.

11.16.06 -
Planner: Kahului Harbor is not enough
When the public at large got its first chance to offer suggestions for the next Kahului Harbor master plan, the state was told to expand its horizons - to plan not just for the island's only commercial port but for maritime needs generally.

Ship of fools
Some Hawai'i residents tell Superferry officials to shape up or ship out

See also:
Save Kahului Harbor