Best (WORST) Environmental Issue, Winner Hawaii Superferry Address: One Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste. 300, Honolulu, HI 96813 Phone: 808-853-4010 Website: http://www.hawaiisuperferry.com 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!
Best State Blunder, Winner Hawaii Superferry Address: One Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste. 300, Honolulu, HI 96813 Phone: 808-853-4010 Website: http://www.hawaiisuperferry.com Ah, the Superferry. Love it or hate it, everyone’s got an opinion. (For evidence of just how polarizing this issue is, see the runner up.) But after all the money, protests and legal wrangling, the only opinion that really mattered was that of the Hawaii Supreme Court, which ruled that Act 2—the special law that allowed the vessel to launch without a completed Environmental Impact Statement—was unconstitutional. That put the boat out of commission. But while the saga is over, at least for now, the motives that led the Superferry to be hurried into the water without a sound legal or financial plan—and the true cost of this boondoggle to taxpayers—remain murky. JS