The environmental and legal waters became even more turbulent in the year that passed since Hawaii Superferry earned last year’s nod as Best Environmental Issue. And by “Best,” we believe readers of course mean “Worst.” After all, aren’t environmental issues defined as government willingness to let big money projects run rampant over natural resources and common sense? Let’s review: Superferry launches $5 fares last August, jumping ahead of a looming court date to halt them. Citizens of Kauai jump on surfboards and block entry to harbor. Judge listens to a month of testimony and agrees there is the likelihood of adverse environmental impacts and calls for EIS first. Governor and legislature call special session, and draft new law to trump his ruling. High seas keep Superferry in port. Soon after, the 350-foot long fast-ferry is in drydock to repair damage to hull. Once repaired, second daily trip to Maui is added. Inspections reveal plundering of Maui resources: river rocks, ‘opihi, seaweed, reef fish, and octopus. Did we mention the close calls in near-collisions with whales, including three within 50 yards, one of which was 5-10 feet from the vessel? Yes, Superferry’s got issues!
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