POSTED: 10 OCTOBER 2007 - 9:30am HST

Take action to support Judge's ruling

image above:photo illustration of "Ferry Go Round" by David Swann of the Honolulu Star Bulletin

"Hawaii's environment is our economy."

The Supreme Court has ruled that the superferry needs an Environmental Review.
Maui Judge Joseph Cardoza has now ruled that the Hawaii Superferry
must NOT operate until that Environmental Review is completed.

Please contact members of the legislature and let them know that you do NOT want them to over-rule the courts and the law.

To show your support for Hawai'i, Here are things you can do:

Write or call your elected officials and let them know you support the Judge's decision. An Environmental Review must be completed BEFORE the Hawaii Superferry sails again.

Send a letter to the editor of one (or more) of our local newspapers:

Island Newspapers
The Honolulu Advertiser

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

The Maui News
The Garden Island News (click “Letter to the Editor” in left menu)
(click “Letter to the Editor” in left menu)

West Hawai‘i Today

Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald

Senate Leadership and Key Committees
Coleen Hanabusa - Senate President

Donna Mercado Kim -
Senate Vice President

Gary Hooser - Majority Leader

Kalani English -
Chair of Transportation and International Affairs Committee

Roslyn Baker -
Chair of Ways and Means Committee

Ron Menor -
Chair of Energy and Environment Committee

Brian Taniguchi -
Chair of Commerce, Consumer Protection Committee

House Leadership and Key Committees
Calvin Say - Speaker of the House

Jon Riki Karamatsu -
Vice Speaker of the House

Kirk Caldwell -
Majority Leader

Marcus Oshiro -
Chair of Finance Committee

Joseph Souki -
Chair of Transpor tation Committee

Kyle Yamashita -
Chair of Economic Development and Business Committee

Hermina Morita -
Chair of Energy and Environmental Protection Committee

Elected Officials

Big Island Senators
Lorraine Inouye

Russell Kokubun|

Paul Whalen

Big Island Representatives
Jerry Chang

Cindy Evans

Josh Green

Faye Hanohano

Robert Herkes|

Dwight Takamine

Clift Tsuji
Mayor Harry Kim – 808-961-8211

Kauai Senators
Gary Hooser

Kauai Representatives
Hermina Morita

Roland Sagum III

James Tokioka

Mayor Bryan Baptiste – 808-241-6300

Maui Senators
Rosalyn Baker

Kalani English

Shan Tsutsui

Maui Representatives
Joe Bertram III

Mele Carroll

Angus McKelvey

Bob Nakasone

Joseph Souki

Kyle Yamashita


POSTED: 10 OCTOBER 2007 - 9:30am HST

No Special Legislative Session for Hawaii Superferry

by Warren Woodward 10 October 2007

Dear Advertiser Editor,

Your editorial call for a special legislative session for the ferry was irresponsible. The ferry and the Lingle administration broke the law. They were told they broke the law years ago but did not listen. Now the legislature is supposed to hold a special session to write law especially for these scofflaws?!

You who are worried about 'what kind of message' halting the ferry sends to the world, what kind of message does a special legislative session send? It sends the message that if you are rich and connected Hawaii will make laws especially for you--just like in banana republics.

And stop calling the ferry a business. It is a corporate welfare queen.


Warren Woodward
8805 Kula Hwy.
Kula, Hawaii 96790
808 878 3103


Legislature needs Superferry special session
Honolulu Advertiser editorial board

The ideal purpose of a functioning government is to deliver to the people "the best of all possible worlds." Instead, Hawai'i's elected representatives now find themselves at the juncture of choosing the "lesser of two evils."
The state's high court underscored that the state administration erred in its finding that an environmental assessment would not be required for the Hawaii Superferry, and today, Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza's ruling made the repercussions of that decision crystal clear.

Cardoza ruled that environmental law does not permit the ferry to continue operations while the assessment is being prepared.

His ruling follows days of court hearings during which company executives stated unequivocally that the Superferry could not afford to idle during the study process and likely would have to leave Hawai'i altogether.

Considering the state's need for alternative transportation options — especially with the current uncertainty in the airlines market — taking steps to keep the Superferry would represent "the lesser of evils."

That's why the Legislature should convene in a special session to pass a law enabling the ferry to continue. There should be room for conditions to be set during the interim, while environmental studies are under way, that could minimize the risks to whales and other resources until the true impact of a full-scale operation could be better understood.

Gov. Linda Lingle plans to meet today with lawmakers in hopes of persuading them to convene.

Carving out exemptions from environmental law is far from good governmental practice, and it's distressing to contemplate doing that in this case. Lawmakers should review the environmental review law next regular session and discuss ways that key decisions could be reviewed administratively, to avert more courtroom battles in the future.

But their focus today should be on the preferred course to take in this case, in which government gave mixed signals to yet another company seeking to do business in Hawai'i. Uprooting the Superferry after the investment to date would send a message that the state would surely regret.

Lawmakers made a similar exception in the Hokuli'a development case. Nobody wanted to exercise that option so soon, but our collective guilty conscience should not deter leaders from making the best of a bad situation.

Cardoza today expressed his hope that "today will serve as a moment of reflection for all of us and recognition of the need for having this community work together."
He may have been addressing those remarks to Superferry's opponents and supporters, but the elected leaders who now must navigate out of this mess should be listening, too.


Special session Hawaii Superferry's only hope
by Derrick DePledge on 10 October 2007 in the Hinolulu Advertiser

Gov. Linda Lingle and state House and Senate leaders indicated yesterday that a special session may be the only option left to save Hawaii Superferry but put off a decision on whether lawmakers should return to the state Capitol.

Lingle, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), and state House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), met privately in the governor's office yesterday afternoon and agreed that Hanabusa and Say needed more time to discuss a special session with their caucuses.

House Democrats will meet this afternoon, and Senate Democrats likely later this week, anticipating that public pressure both for and against a special session will likely build.

Hanabusa and Say have said they believe they have enough votes to help Superferry, but they have been cautious about making any commitments, knowing that the fate of a legislative remedy will depend on whether a majority in the House and Senate can agree on the details.

"The only fix I see at this time to allow that service to be here for the people — and I don't see it as saving a company, I see it as saving an option for the people of Hawai'i — the only way to do it now, in my opinion, is through some sort of special legislation," Lingle told reporters after the meeting.

Lawmakers believe most people across the Islands do not want the Superferry to leave. But their reluctance to commit to a special session since it started being discussed as an option a few weeks ago is due in part to the vehemence against the project among environmentalists and activists on Maui and Kaua'i.

Environmentalists, who for years could not convince the Lingle administration or the Legislature to order an environmental review of the Superferry, now have opinions from the state Supreme Court and the Maui Circuit Court validating their arguments.

Hanabusa had recommended going into special session before the Maui court ruled and had warned Lingle and Say about the political difficulty of undoing the court's decision after the fact. But Lingle and Say wanted to wait for the court's ruling. There were hints yesterday, in conversations with several lawmakers and by the tone of Lingle's, Hanabusa's and Say's public comments, that their role has now taken on more gravity.

"Now we're in almost the worst possible situation, in that we're going to, as a Legislature, have to make the decision on whether we're going to overrule the third branch of government because there is great public sentiment in favor of Superferry," Hanabusa said.

Say, who has supported the Superferry, said: "I hope we can come up with creative ideas in trying to address this. I'm very optimistic that maybe something will come about.

"For me, when you have a crisis, that's when you're supposed to rise to the occasion."

A legislative remedy would likely allow Superferry to resume service between O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i while the state conducts an environmental assessment of the ferry's impact on state harbors. Lawmakers may also add conditions to minimize potential collisions with whales, the spread of invasive species and increased harbor traffic.

Say has urged that, if a special session is called, it be limited to five days, with discussion on one bill with no amendments. Such a surgical approach would avoid floor fights over counterproposals and amendments that could bog down debate. It would require that Lingle, Hanabusa and Say reach consensus beforehand on a bill that would be palatable enough that even lawmakers with different ideas would go along. It would also preclude lawmakers from addressing other subjects, such as a recent state Supreme Court ruling that declared the state's extended sentencing law unconstitutional.


Hanabusa said that she wants to give the public an opportunity to comment on a Superferry bill, either through an informational briefing before a special session or through public hearings.

The Senate, if lawmakers return, would also likely have to review three of Lingle's interim Cabinet appointments — Laura H. Thielen at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Darwin Ching at the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and Clayton Frank at the Department of Public Safety — along with scores of other nominees. The Senate will also likely have to consider a Lingle nominee to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Lingle and House and Senate leaders will likely not agree to a special session unless there is confidence there are enough votes to help Superferry. But, even if there is an agreement, there are internal differences among key leaders that could influence how the debate plays out.

Both state House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, D-24th (Manoa), and state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau), have spoken disapprovingly of a special session. Caldwell has questioned the public-policy implications of coming back to save one development project. Hooser has described a special session for Superferry as a "bailout" and said he would likely insist on a full environmental impact statement.

"My concern also is ignoring minority voices on Kaua'i and Maui. There are voices with legitimate concerns," Caldwell said. "I think the Legislature has to be mindful of that."

Jeff Mikulina, director of the Sierra Club's Hawai'i chapter, said he is opposed to a special session and believes there is no need to tweak the state's three-decade old environmental law for Superferry. He said if there is consumer demand for Superferry in the Islands, then it will still be here after the state completes an environmental review.

"It would be very difficult, we think, for legislative leaders to reconcile their sustainability agenda with special interest legislation," he said.
Mikulina said if lawmakers do pass legislation allowing the ferry to resume service, and there is environmental damage, then they would be seen as responsible. He also said a special session could inflame protesters on Kaua'i who went into Nawiliwili Harbor to block the ferry on its initial voyages.
"If there is an appearance, or the perception, that Superferry is getting yet more special treatment in some way, that might inflame the community further. So there is a risk there," he said.

Isaac Hall, the attorney who represented the Sierra Club and other environmentalists on Maui, said the Legislature should not interfere with the environmental review process. "I'm certainly hoping our Legislature will not bail out one company with special legislation. Chapter 343 is a very important environmental law which has served the people very well for many, many years," he said.

Hall also said that after all the court testimony on the ferry's potential impact, it is obvious the state should proceed directly to a full environmental impact statement, instead of a simple assessment, which might end up leading to the broader review anyway. Preparing an EIS could take at least a year or two.
"The state would be wasting time to do the environmental assessment first," he said.

But many lawmakers said yesterday they are ready to help Superferry. State Sen. Will Espero, D-20th ('Ewa Beach, Waipahu), said he envisions allowing ferry service to resume under conditions to protect whales and prevent the spread of invasive species. He said he believes Superferry would be receptive to the conditions.

"I think they're going to be more than willing to cooperate at this point," Espero said.

State Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawai'i Kai), said the ferry debate could have broader implications for the state's reputation.

"It is the Legislature's responsibility to write clear and fair laws concerning the environment that would preempt errant judicial decisions," Hemmings said. "The sad Superferry debacle has implications way beyond the shores of Hawai'i. The Legislature should convene immediately to rewrite the law that will both protect the environment and allow fair opportunities for transportation initiatives and other businesses."



POSTED: 9 OCTOBER 2007 - 11:00am HST

Judge Cordoza Rules in favor of Environment

image above: Judge Cordoza of Maui Circuit Cour delivers ruling in favor of the environment today

click on image to hear Cordoza Ruling (about 46minutes from 10:20am-11:05am)

by Juan Wilson on 9 October 2007

At about 10:15am this morning the delayed hearing returned to open seesion. Judge Cordoza reviewed the arguements of the plaintiffs (environmental groups) and the defendents (HSF Corporation and the HI DOT). Cordoza reviewed Chapter 343, the law regarding environmental protection. Finally he reviewed the decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court that required the Superferry to receive a permit through an Environmental Assessment.

After the review the judge ruled in favor of the environment. Cordoza decided that the operating agereement with the DOT for the Superferry to operate at Kahalui Haror is void until a legally acceptable Environmental Assessment is complete. He acknowledged the hardship to the state and HSF Corporation that this decision would cause.




POSTED: 8 OCTOBER 2007 - 4:30pm HST

Hawaii Superferry ruling delayed until tomorrow

image above: Judge Cordoza of Maui Circuit Court gets up at end of Superferry hearing summaries

The fate of the Hawaii Superferry will remain in limbo for at least one more day.

After listening to attorneys' closing arguments this morning, Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza said he needed more time to consider the arguments and review additional memorandums filed this morning by the lawyers.

He said he will announce his decision at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Today's court session came at the end of a monthlong hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction to keep the ferry tied up at dock while the state performs an environmental assessment on $40 million in ferry-related improvements at Kahului Harbor.

The request was filed by the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, which have expressed concerns about increased traffic around ports, the potential spread of invasive species and collisions with humpback whales.



POSTED: 5 OCTOBER 2007 - 6:30pm HST

Maui Superferry hearing draws to close

image above: Judge Cordoza of Maui Circuit Court at end of Superferry hearing testimony

by Christie Wilson on 5 October 2007 in The Honolulu Advertiser

A Maui judge is expected to rule Monday on whether the Hawaii Superferry will be allowed to resume Maui service while the state conducts an environmental assessment of ferry-related harbor projects.

Judge Joseph Cardoza brought the final gavel down this afternoon on four weeks of testimony presented on one side by the company and the state Department of Transportation, and on the other by the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition.

Witnesses for the company and the state have testified about the public need for an interisland ferry service, and about the potential financial impacts if the company is not allowed to resume operations immediately.

The three community groups have presented testimony on the potential environmental impacts of allowing the ferry to sail before the assessment is complete. These include worries about the spread of alien species, collisions with humpback whales, and degradation of Native Hawaiian subsistence fishing, hunting and gathering grounds.

Hawaii Superferry President and CEO John Garibaldi testified yesterday the company will not be able to absorb the financial blow caused by a continued prohibition of service to Maui. He said the company would have to lease the vessel out in order to generate revenue.

If Cardoza rules the high-speed catamaran can go back into service during the months it will take the state to perform the assessment, he may set temporary conditions on ferry operations to mitigate some of the environmental issues.
Attorneys will present their closing arguments at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Cardoza today indicated he would render a decision then.

see also:
Island Breath: Kauai charges not made 10/4/07
Island Breath: Council HSF Resolution 10/4/07
Island Breath: Recent Superferry News 9/29/07
Island Breath: Superferry Lawsuit Links 9/17/07