OVER THE BOUNDING MANGE: The full court press is on to try to force the Superferry up our a... er, down our throats again and despite widespread opposition they’re not only not giving up but if Kaua`i isn’t adamant they may not take our no for an answer.
Some of the most inane rantings are along the lines of “take a look at how great things have turned out on Maui- they love the Superferry and there are no problems”..
Here’s a typical letter to the editor in the local paper today from one Deborah Kaiu of Pu‘unene, Maui She says
I would like to see the Hawaii Superferry return to Kaua`i for several reasons:
• The cost is lower than the airlines.
• The beauty of the untouched land.
• Not having to rent a car and pay the highway tax, cost of insurance and gas.
Because my car is already insured. I already paid for my tax on my car which includes the use of the highway, and my car will go the weekend with the gas I will Superferry with...
So people, aloha the Superferry. You can do so much with their service, and for those who don’t want it don’t use it. I did though, see many protesters on the Superferry with us, and their opinion changed as 125,000-plus have used it and the numbers will continue to soar even if it doesn’t service Kaua`i.
Aloha the Superferry? Why so you can use our roads without paying taxes to maintain them by filling up before you leave? So you can bring all your “stuff” and leave your garbage for our landfill? Why so you can “touch”- read:, trample and abuse- “the beauty of the untouched land” and not pay for the infrastructure to get you there?
Well maybe we should ask those on Maui who are paying attention, not those who think that the money-losing temporarily cheap fares are reason enough to sacrifice our future and stick our children with the resulting infrastructurally indebted nightmare.
One of those paying attention on Maui is Irene Bowie Executive Director of Maui Tomorrow and if anyone wants to find out what a Kaua`i would look like with a superhighway to Honolulu take a gander at her testimony to the Superferry Oversight Task Force meeting that met in Honolulu, Wednesday.
After reminding them of “the travesty that ACT 2 is” she goes on to detail all of the broken promises of oversight that the law supposedly insured.
Then she shared the real details saying:
Issues such as an undercarriage pressure-wash system, which now seems difficult, would have been required and some type of system would have been created (in enforcement rather than suspension of environmental laws).
Listening to Admiral Fargo state that night vision goggles, radar, and “bow-mounted cameras” are currently in the research and development stage is not acceptable. I stood before this Task Force in February of this year and told you that the technology was not adequate at this time yet HSF continued to state through last year’s whale season that those technologies would ensure safety for humpbacks during evening transits. Now, with two months before the first whales begin arriving in Hawaiian waters, Admiral Fargo says it will take more time… again, this is not acceptable in regards to an endangered and federally protected species. The only mitigation for this issue is reduced speeds, down to 10k, when traveling after dark.
And lastly, to hear DOCARE’s report on inspections and findings, I am discouraged by the number of natural resources being taken from Maui on a regular basis. To have over 400 lbs. of reef fish taken from Maui waters in a one month period is astounding; Maui fishermen are currently working to educate our community on the need to fish for invasive species rather than native species so that our reefs have a chance to become healthy again. Fish such as uhu are important not only for the health of the reef but also in the creation of sand for our disappearing beaches. The people of Maui treasure our cultural and natural resources and greater effort must be made to stop this plunder. Forty nine pounds of opihi in one month and another 75 lbs. the following month; over 250 lbs. of limu in a month; how long will these natural resources remain for our community and what studies have been done to examine this situation?
After ridiculing the customer satisfaction surveys she lists five items that she asks the task force to “consider” – five matters that are an eye-opener when you consider they are what’s not happening now. She asked:
1) We request a report on the total cost to Hawaii taxpayers for:
1) Inspections/costs for Dept. of Ag and DOCARE staffing
DOT lawsuits and appeals
2) Oversight Task Force costs, i.e., inter-island transportation, etc.
3) Preparation for Environmental Impact Statement
4) Barges/tugs to assist HSF
5) Any other costs incurred
We ask that this information be put into a document that is released to the public
2) We would like to know what plan is in place after December 2008 when the Oversight Task Force concludes. What is in place for inspections on the Big Island when service begins in 2009? Will DOCARE and Dept. of Ag be involved? We suggest a user fee be added to HSF ticket price to provide for needed DOCARE and Dept. of Ag staffing.
3) An update on Hawaii Superferry’s incidental take permit process and whale avoidance plan for Winter/08-09. Will the HSF’s “whale season” be abbreviated as it was last year or run concurrent with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary’s accepted season?
4) We strongly request that DOCARE continue regular inspections at Kahului Harbor until December of 2008 rather than moving to random inspections with HSF staff taking over the process.
5) DOCARE’s regular reports are the only comprehensive assessment of items being transported by this new form of inter-island transportation. We need continued information to make educated decisions on procedures needed, not only for Maui, but also for the Big Island as the 2nd vessel comes on-line in 2009.
We ask for a more fair distribution of the remaining OTF meetings between Oahu and Maui as many members of the Maui community have comments but are unable to attend off-island meetings.
Bowie’s Maui Tomorrow is famous among many on Kaua`i for understating the problems and last year she and Maui Tomorrow were criticized here and on Maui for their style of making overly polite “objections” to the Superferry.
Some say this allowed the legislature to water down the conditions that allowed the Superferry to run in violation of federal NEPA laws if not actually causing an acquiescence to Superferry travel to Maui without an EIS in the first place by discouraging the type of non-violent civil disobedience in which people of Kaua`i engaged.
But she does discuss how even the light-duty restrictions aren’t being followed and makes it clear what just some of the costs to Kaua`i would be- costs ignored by many candidates for Kaua`i County Council if today’s newspaper review of a recent forum are accurate
It’s particularly galling that the pressure is on to allow the big bad boat to serve Kaua`i in light of the fact that the infamously inadequate “conditions” that were supposed to insure compliance with all the things that might have been uncovered, considered and “mitigated” in a legitimate EIS, aren’t even being followed.
With all that who is it that’s actually shocked that it isn’t working on Maui?
This all comes on the heels of a report that the recent Dept. of Transpiration “Risk Assessment” that found multiple areas where the Superferry was in violation of the agreement to the 40 extremely lax and watered down to begin with “conditions” contained in the special session legislative “fix” of “Act 2”
According to a KGMB news report- the only media we can find that even covered the report’s release-
The 200-thousand dollar risk assessment found that out of 40 categories, the Superferry did poorly in three areas.
First, 23-percent of vehicles were not inspected for banned agricultural items. That covers everything from plants and seeds, to rocks and coral.
They also need to improve inspections of car wheel wells. Also, many muddy vehicles were allowed. That D.O.T. says that could be risky because seeds and other things could be in the soil.
Finally, the assessment says the Superferry needs to screen more passengers. It found 17-percent of those without vehicles were not asked if they were carrying prohibited items.
Finally also in the news recently were all the “125,000th passenger” puff- pieces that were plastered all over the corporate media. But Harry Eagar of Maui news was apparently the only one who got the number of voyages right listing them at 486 while the rest accepted the Superferry’s PR number of “over 400”.
This caused someone calling himself MauiJim to do the math and post it in the comments to Eagars’ article, saying
125,000 pax at about $50 a head = $6 mil in revenue. 30k cars at $60 = 1.8 mil revenue. 20% more for commercial is another 1.5 mil. Just over $9 mil total. The ferry burns 1900 gph, 3h per trip, $4 per gallon...that comes to an appalling $20,000 each way in fuel costs!!! Times 486 trips = 10 mil in fuel!!! based on their own numbers they haven't even made fuel costs. The only people benefiting from the superferry are the oil companies!
So next time you hear a candidate who’s a Superferry supporter sing it’s praises you’d better ask them to get out their personal checkbook because if they don’t count on paying for it themselves, we on Kaua`i might have to..