Return of the Superferry…

… To court, that is. Today the Hawaii Supreme Court takes up the matter of whether Act 2, the state Legislature’s special law passed in 2007 that grants a special exemption from state environmental laws to Hawaii Superferry Inc., is constitutional. The matter begins at 8:45 this morning–click here for live blogging of the proceedings.

While you’re waiting for court to begin, you might want to read the slightly scathing state Auditor’s Phase 2 report on “the State Administration’s Actions Exempting Certain Harbor Improvements to Facilitate Large Capacity Ferry Vessels from the Requirements of the Hawai’i Environmental Impact Statements Law,” which came out yesterday. The whole report is fascinating (you can read it here), but those not wanting to wade through its 50 or so pages can check out Hawaii Superferry Unofficial Blog’s take, Disappeared News’ take, The Maui News‘ take (it’s by Harry Eagar, so take it for what it’s worth) or just read the following paragraph from the introduction, which I think sums up it all up very nicely:
“In their haste to support Hawai’i Superferry, Inc., state officials ignored the recommendations of their technical staff, setting off a chain of events that culminated in the implementation of a $38.5 million interim harbor improvement system that is costing the State millions in repairs, and may, in the end, sit idle. In addition, subsequent legislative action on behalf of Hawai’i Superferry, Inc. compromised the islands’ environmental laws and set a precedent for future government intervention that puts the interests of a single business before the State’s environmental, fiduciary, and public safety responsibilities.”

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