Sunday, September 30, 2007

My outlook on the HI Superferry

Well first, everybody here seems to be waiting for the lower court ruling from hearings right now on Maui. The state Supreme Court here has said there needs to be an "environmental assessment," but did not say yet whether the Superferry could operate while that is being done. The Superferry clearly would like to be able to operate while an assessment is being done for financial reasons and because it would make it harder for others to stop their operations based on an environmental assessment if they have already been operating. The local media here seems to think it is a foregone conclusion that the Superferry will be allowed to operate while an environmental assessment is done.

I have a question, why have an environment assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement done if you are already going to let the situation being studied take place?

As for the big issues here, I think there are a few key ones. One is the incompatability of using the Superferry for both private sector and military use here in Hawaiian waters. Do Hawaiian civilians really want to be risking driving their car onto a ship and sitting in a seat that just a day or two before a military person with depleted uranium dust on them was sitting in? This is an issue that probably will not be addressed because the U.S. Army won't even admit what has been proven that they are using depleted uranium weapons.

So, the other big issue is the effect on the whale sanctuary here in Hawaii. It has been proven elsewhere in the world that fast ferries moving above 15 knots strike and kill whales at increased rates and create destructive wakes to shorelines. Here is where I think we can take a que from our Kiwi friends. They had such a fast ferry operating unfettered and they put a speed requirement on it...I think at about the 15 knots range. That ferry had to cut back its service because of the increased time of travel and eventually it stopped operating because it could not do so profitably under those circumstances. I like the way that was handled. At a minimum, should the state judge buckle to pressure on him and allow the Superferry to keep operating while an environmental assessment is done, then at least he could follow precedent elsewhere in the world and put something like a 15 knots speed limit on the Superferry while the assessment or EIS is being done.

Also, I think an EIS and not just an environmental assessment should be done.

Lastly, if the Superferry finds that it cannot operate profitably here in Hawaii under these circumstances, then so be it...we really don't need the Superferry here.

Aloha, Brad

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