Saturday, July 24, 2010

Superferry Politics: The Devil is in the Details, Mr. Schatz

Candidate for Lt. Governor Brian Schatz comments on the Superferry shortly before and after the unconstitutional Act 2 was passed by the Legislature, followed by a clip on the latest news about the unsustainable business plan that the Superferry always was:


"Lessons from the Superferry"
How do we move forward?
by Brian Schatz Sep 19, 2007

OK, we’ve heard the arguments. Depending on your perspective, either the Superferry is an example of how unfriendly Hawai’i is toward business, or it’s a cautionary tale for those who skirt environmental regulations. Both sides of this cultural and environmental divide are outraged. But where do we go from here? What are the lessons from this ongoing fiasco?

For Government:

Yes should mean yes, no should mean no.

The Superferry was told by one part of the government (the Transportation Department) that an Environmental Assessment wasn’t required, and then another part of the government (The Supreme Court) told them to do it. The Superferry folks are right in saying that this situation is ridiculous and that it shows how complicated and difficult Hawai’i’s process is. [?] I’ve heard smart legal arguments on both sides, [?] but the way to prevent a mess like this in the future is to have the Legislature clarify who has the final authority to decide issues like this. [?]

For Developers:

Do the Environmental Assessment if you have any doubt at all.

There are several reasons to just go ahead and do an Environmental Assessment for a major project. First, it’s the right thing to do, because it’s often the only opportunity for the public’s voice to be heard about important projects. Second, the law usually requires it. [?] And even if you can construct a legal case in which it isn’t required, you are going to end up fighting in court, which will make people angry and delay the project anyway. Finally, the Environmental Assessment process is not an approval thing–it’s a disclosure thing, which means that when the environmental disclosure is complete, the project goes forward... [???]


"The next legislative session"
Stay away from old issues and spend a little time on things that matter, like sustainability
by Brian Schatz Nov 14, 2007

Superferry Session is pau...

Avoid superobsession

The Superferry war isn’t over until a series of court rulings are made, but for legislative purposes, it’s done, and the vote wasn’t close. As the battle rages on elsewhere, it shouldn’t occupy the energy of the Legislature. This will take discipline because both sides are still fighting mad. But it’s no longer in the Legislature’s hands. One more caution on this issue: The majority of the general public wanted the Superferry, and they were willing to carve an exemption in our environmental laws to let it happen. [?] But they do not want this to become a habit, and they do not want weaker laws.

Get focused on supersustainability not the Superferry...


"Hawaii Superferry shorted state"
By MARK NIESSE The Associated Press July 21, 2010

HONOLULU--The Hawaii Superferry was sailing under a facade of success in the summer of 2008 -- boasting of record ridership -- but it had already begun to shortchange the state on its monthly fees, according to an Associated Press review of Department of Transportation records.

The company's inability to pay fully in July indicates it was in troubled waters nine months before the Hawaii Supreme Court decision widely blamed for the ferry's closure came in March, 2009. The court overturned a state law that allowed the Superferry to operate while an environmental impact statement was being conducted...

[Editor's note - The Devil is in the Details. Good policy is not always merely a matter of political compromise. Wisdom and experience would know that.]

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