Gov Abercrombie Tries to Sneak Salmonson In

October 30th, 2013

Remember the woman who could have ruled that the Superferry required an EIS, Office of Environmental Quality Control Director Genevieve Salmonson?  But instead of going along with her Environmental Council, she over-ruled them and gave DOT a pass on the EIS?

She’s baaaaack.

Gov. Abercrombie tried to slip her nomination through amidst the hullabaloo of the Special Session on Marriage Equality.

But citizens fought back and he was forced to withdraw the nomination.

Read more about the Salmonson fight here.

Navy to Buy Superferries

November 21st, 2011

The Virginian-Pilot     Monday, November 21, 2011

Navy hopes to gain two Hawaiian superferries

By Robert McCabe


The Navy wants the two Hawaiian superferries docked at Lamberts Point in Norfolk.

The Navy “is working with the U.S. Maritime Administration to permit the transfer of the two high-speed vessels, formerly Hawaii superferries, into the naval service of the United States,” Lt. Cmdr. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman, said Friday.

One of the ferries, the Huakai, was used in the military’s relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. The Navy first expressed interest in the ferries after the Maritime Administration took possession of them in 2009.

The Maritime Administration said Friday that a deal had yet to be reached.

“We continue to work with interested parties, including the U.S. Navy, in evaluating all options, with a goal of maximizing the government’s return from these vessels,” Kim Riddle, an administration spokeswoman, said in an email. “We anticipate announcing a winning bidder soon.”

The Maritime Administration took the ferries, the Alakai and the Huakai, in July 2009 after a bankruptcy judge ruled that the owner – Hawaii Superferry Inc. – could abandon them to lenders, who at the time were owed nearly $159 million.

The administration, which guaranteed the loans, moved them to Norfolk.

The administration eventually bought the vessels for $25 million each through a credit bid at an auction on Sept. 30, 2010, on the steps of U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

The administration was allowed to bid using the original $150 million guarantee that the federal government already had spent on the boats, according to Riddle.

Built to move cars and people among the Hawaiian Islands, the ferries can cruise at 35 knots. Between 320 and 340 feet long, they can carry 836 passengers and 282 cars.

In June, the Maritime Administration put the two vessels up for sale on an “as is, where is” basis and eventually received four bids.

In September, the administration said it was “working expeditiously with bidders and other interested parties in evaluating its options, with a goal of maximizing the government’s return from these vessels.”

Garas declined to comment on whether the Navy was among the bidders or whether the Navy was purchasing the vessels or simply taking possession of them.

Robert McCabe, (757) 446-2327,

2 Superferries 4 Sale: Buyer Beware

June 23rd, 2011

This notice is coming out the same week as the Bloomberg News article detailing the extensive “aluminum corrosion” on the similarly built, and even more recent, US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) also built at the same Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

A  MARAD email states that there has been no  testing done on the 2 vessels.       BUYER BEWARE.


Hawaii OEQC  Environmental Notice  Page 13


Maritime Administration Offer for Public Sale of Two High Speed Vessels

The Maritime Administration of the U. S. Department of Transportation is offering for public sale, on an „„as is, where is‟‟ basis, two fast ferry vessels, ALAKAI, Official Number 1182234, and HUAKAI, Official Number 1215902. Bids may be submitted on or before 5 p.m. July 20, 2011. For additional details, please contact Mr. David Heller, Office of Shipyards and Marine Engineering, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366–1850; or e-mail Copies of this notice may also be obtained from that office. An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded from the Federal Register’s home page and the Government Printing Office‟s database. (see, 76 FR 35942, June 20, 2011).

Here is the complete Federal Notice:

Kahului Beach Rd Barriers

June 14th, 2011

State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, Highways Division
June 22, 2011
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Maui Community College
Pilina Multipurpose Room
310 W. Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, Hawaii

Project: Kahului Beach Road Route 3400 Kahului Bay Shoreline Protection
Project No. 3400A-01-09

Kahului Beach Road Barriers

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public informational meeting will be held by State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, Highways Division (DOT-H) on
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 beginning at 6:00pm, and ending at 8:00pm
in the Pilina Multipurpose Room at Maui Community College,
310 W. Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, Hawaii.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss alternatives for shoreline protection along Kahului Beach Road and the adjacent Kahului Harbor Shoreline.

Kahului Harbor is exposed to wind and waves from the north and northeast. Two large breakwaters protect the harbor from high energy waves during intense storms however the surge becomes a constant attack on the breakwaters and shoreline fronting Kahului Beach Road.

The DOT-H and their consultant Oceanit will discuss suggested alternatives to protect the shoreline and will offer opportunity for public discussion.

All questions are to be directed to
Derrick Elfalan of Oceanit at (808) 531-3017 or email

Republicans Try to Reserect Superferry with Lies (HB191)

January 22nd, 2011

Our communication to the Republican House members who are trying to bring back the Superferry:

Save Kahului Harbor would support a State Ferry System with the following changes:

Eliminate the highlighted two paragraphs because they are untrue and not realistic.  Additionally they serve to wave a red flag at neighbor islands and foment controversy.  They are unnecessary to your bill.

If there were, for instance, a tsunami, the harbors would be trashed far more than the airports.  So these two paragraphs, right off the bat, make you folks seem uninformed and ingenuous.

Also the Hawaii Superferry was in no way, shape or form successful.  The ship was too big to be economically viable and the high speed operation and subsequent fuel usage made it unable to compete with airlines.  This is backed up by the court documents that were submitted during our lawsuit.

Even the Hickam Air Force Base-Honolulu international airport complex, with its location along the shoreline on Oahu, may be operationally shut down by such a disaster.  By way of example, if the airport at Lihue, Kauai had been shut down operationally in the aftermath of Hurricane Iniki, it would have taken days, if not weeks, before any major aid and relief in the form of water, food, medical supplies, and rescue workers could have reached the island.  Hawaii is too reliant on its present slow water carriers and air carriers in the event of a major disaster.

While the Hawaii superferry operation had its shortcomings, a rocky start, and questionable financial forecast, it proved to be a very successful mode of transportation, for both persons and property, between the islands of Maui and Oahu.  It was the missing link in the transportation system between the islands that is so essential for the health, safety, and well-being of the people of Hawaii.

Most importantly, our Maui ferries are very successful and meet a need, but they do not carry vehicles.  There are several downsides to vehicle transportation between islands – the most serious being that it breaks down the natural barriers to propagation of invasive pests.  Please note that California spent ONE BILLION DOLLARS eradicating the Med Fly.  This pest came from Hawai’i and is one reason why our farmers who export products are under such strict scrutiny to insure they have no invasive pests on their farms.

During the time the Superferry ran, the Maui police department was about to bust a drug importation ring based on Oahu that used vehicles as their means of transport.

Our Maui and Kaua’i farmers depend on their Ag certificates clearing them of pests in order to export their plants to the mainland.  The introduction of pests has been shown to be facilitated by roll-on roll-off vehicles traveling between islands.

Therefore we cannot support any plan that includes vehicles.

Why not rewrite this for a non-vehicle, economical ferry that will have a chance to really work?

Mufi Hannemann – Fighting against the EPA

September 9th, 2010

Here’s a reprint of an article slamming Hannemann. It appears to be written by Oahu Sierra Club.

They introduce the site by saying

Mufi Hannemann is spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to “green” his devastating environmental record. He’s banking on the hope that you have a short memory and don’t remember the environmental disasters, lack of planning, and poor policy that were hallmarks of his administration.

The purpose of this site is to hold Hannemann accountable for his record. Hannemann has failed O’ahu and future generations on four main areas of island sustainability: recycling, clean energy, safe water, and smart land use planning.

O’ahu residents and visitors should expect clean, safe water when they go to the beach. Unfortunately, O’ahu’s sewer infrastructure is decrepit and dangerous, with thousands of sewage spills occuring over the past decade. Hannemann was aware of the state of the sewer system when he took office in 2005. A City consultant’s report issued the month before he was elected warned of the “extremely critical” state of the Beach Walk force main in Waikiki.

So what did he do? Instead of working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and community groups who were seeking to remedy the sewage threat as quickly as possible, he worked with a $460 dollar per hour mainland attorney to fight the lawsuit with delay tactics.

On March 24, 2006, one of the worst water pollution disasters in Hawaii’s history occured when 50 million gallons of raw sewage were deliberately diverted from the busted Beach Walk main into the Ala Wai Canal. The incident shut down Waikiki beaches for weeks, contributed to a death by flesh-eating bacteria, and made damaging headlines worldwide. Despite trying to defend the spill, the Department of Justice, EPA, and State of Hawai’i took successful enforcement action against the Hannemann Administration.

Even after the Waikiki wake-up call, the Hannemann Administration continued to fight the community groups in court over a timeline for sewage improvements. Sewage spills continued (leading some to joke that surf report will also include a “poop report”). A federal judge ruled repeatedly in favor of the EPA and community groups, finally–after many delays–forcing the City to settle the lawsuits.

Hannemann also fought the EPA’s required upgrading O’ahu’s sewage treatment facilities to 21st Century standards–standards that nearly every other wastewater plant in America achieve. Hannemann brought City workers to public hearings on the EPA upgrade decision and booed testifiers who supported clean water. But it wasn’t enough. Hannemann’s Administration sued the EPA to force them to disclose who they talked to about their sewage improvement decision. Fortunately the EPA prevailed, and Honolulu is finally on course to have the same level of sewage treatment that other coastal cities have been enjoying for decades.

Hannemann’s water violations haven’t been limited to sewage. His Administration was fined $1.7 million for illegally dumping thousands of tons of concrete into Maili’ili Stream from February of 2008 to May of 2009. The City was fined for each of the 257 truckloads of concrete that was dumped into the channel.

Presentation: Maui’s Enterococci, Staph-MRSA, and Vibrio Issues

August 26th, 2010

During and after the 50 million gallon Waikiki sewage spill, bacteria issues became an almost daily item in the Oahu news media. There were a lot of rumors going around, false information, people making news instead of reporting the news, etc. Unfortunately(for me), it was my duty to respond to the phone calls, check the lab results, openly provide media with data, make sure there was adequate monitoring, signage, made the call to post Waikiki beach and when to pull the signs. Needless to say, it was a challenging experience.

Maui County now seems to be going through similar issues with bacteria. High Enterococci counts and effluent from WWTP injection wells and staph-MRSA infections. How should the County of Maui and its major water recreational population address these issues? What are facts, what are rumors, and what does a person do to protect himself while recreating in Maui’s waters. I will address these issues in my presentation at:

Planning Department Conference Room
250 S. High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793

Date: September 1, 2010
Time: 9:00-10:30 am

Watson Okubo
Monitoring & Analysis Section Chief
Clean Water Branch
Department of Health
919 Ala Moana Blvd#301
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Phone: 808 586-4309

Feds Call Hannemann on his Ignorance

August 23rd, 2010

Mufi Hannemann exposed his ignorance when he cavalierly said he’d bring back the Superferry by buying the two vessels formerly owned by Hawaii Superferry. (Hannemann Plan To Revive Superferry Sinking Fast)

Apparently no one told him that the Federal Government has a $140million dollar lien on the vessels that he was expecting to get for a mere $40million.

We won’t even mention the $300,000+ monthly subsidy that we taxpayers would have to cough up to keep the Superferrry running…another little fact that Mufi overlooked. Appears the whole “bring back the Superferry” position was simply a play for Oahu votes…as it is clear Mufi cares nothing for the neighbor isles.

Hannemann wants Superferries

August 19th, 2010

If wasting over $40,000,000 of State Funds already, isn’t enough, Mufi Hannemann wants the State to bring back the Superferries.  Here’s the editorial at the Maui News (with comments):

“When asked how he could revive the Superferry when environmental groups on Maui fought so hard to put it in dry dock last time, Hannemann said the whole process would have to begin anew. He said he would not push it if there was evidence the community was not behind it.”

The neighbor islands universally opposed the Superferry.  That’s because it is a one-way advantage for Oahu to come to our relatively unspoiled islands and loot them.

But Hannemann emphasized he thought having the transportation alternative for farmers, families and business people was well worth going through the effort again. He promised to follow an exhaustive process beginning with community meetings, then going on to the completion of a brand-new environmental impact statement.

How can he say that he’ll follow the EIS process, if he already has his mind made up to use the huge, gas-guzzling, aluminum hulled Superferries that showed they could not withstand our treacherous inter-island channels.  A REAL EIS would show that a smaller ferry that could operate efficiently at lower speeds when going through the Humpback Sanctuary would be a better choice.  But Mufi has his mind made up to use the big, speeding, gas-hogging ferries that constantly broke down.  The cracks in the hull resulted in the Coast Guard having to escort the ferry because they did not believe it was sea-worthy.

The farmers testified that the Superferry was inconvenient and MORE expensive than barging their goods.  Even Maui Pine who owned a stake in the Superferry decided it was cheaper to use the barges.

Hannemann said that, if elected, he’d begin work on the Superferry revival within his first three months.He said the reason it failed last time was that shortcuts were taken – an EIS wasn’t done before the ferry sailed – and, very simply, he didn’t believe the Superferry had someone to champion it. He promised to be that champion.

So we’re going to do a token EIS.  If Mufi already has his mind made up, it doesn’t matter that the EIS will say that these ferries are the wrong type of ship, that allowing vehicles to be driven on and off between islands removes the last barrier to spreading invasive species, that the social and environmental costs of having the million people on Oahu come to the neighbor islands bringing their gangs, drugs, rapacious fishermen, campers and so on might argue against this kind of ferry.

The ex-mayor pointed to his success in getting rail passed on Oahu as proof he could lead a successful transportation project. While he wouldn’t predict how long it would take to get the Superferry going again, he said he was able to get the rail project under way in five years when the average for such an effort is 14.

Yeah, we know how he did that.  He looted the open space funds.  He went to the mainland and held $5000 a plate fundraisers with corporations wanting to bid on the rail project.

When asked if he agreed with his opponent, Neil Abercrombie, that a financially successful Superferry would require a public and private cooperation including the military, Hannemann replied that he was certain there would be help from the public sector.

When Lingle used public money, she furloughed our teachers. What more will Mufi cut to pay for the Superferry?

Vote for Clean Water

August 19th, 2010

The following candidates have demonstrated by their actions that they support cleaning up the injection wells.  Please consider voting for them in the Primary.  (If they don’t win the primary, we won’t have a chance to vote for them in the General)

Maui Mayor: Sol Kaho’ohalahala

Maui County Council – (You can vote for all no matter where you live)
Pa’ia-Ha’iku: Kai Nishiki
West: Elle Cochran
South: Wayne Nishiki

State Senator – Shan Tsutsui (only those in the Wailuku area will see this on your ballot)

State Representative
East Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i – Mele Carroll
Wailuku, etc – Tasha Kama
Central to Pa’ia – Gil Keith-Agaran

US House – Mazie Hirono

The primary is Saturday Sept 18th but you can apply for a vote-by-mail (absentee) ballot now and vote by mail.  Or you can walk in several days prior to the election at the County Building in Wailuku