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The Triumph of the Tiananmen-Like Surfer Protest in Hawaii

by Katie Leo 


Tags: Environment, Energy, Wilderness and Wildlife, Hawaii, Superferry, Grassroots Protests, Surfers, The Nation,

surfergrassroots uprising against the environmentally-disastrous Hawaii Superferry has triumphed—for now. In March, The Nation reported that a coalition of Native Hawaiians, locals of Japanese and Filipino descent, and white settlers joined forces to protest the Superferry’s maiden voyage from Honolulu to Kaui, culminating in a standoff between the mammoth vessel and dozens of surfers and swimmers reminiscent of Tiananmen Square.

The inter-island ferry had plummeted in popularity when locals realized its full toll: it used 12,000 gallons of fuel per round trip; it raced through the habitats of humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles; it had the potential to transport invasive species; and, it brought cars to islands already crowded with motorists. Republican Governor Linda Lingle ignored demands for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from environmentalists as well as the state Supreme Court, resulting in the dramatic protest.

Now the Hawaiian State Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the Superferry has no legal authority to continue its operations in the state. But, don’t count Lingle out. She continues to battle on behalf of the project as well as her own political ambitions. Like the dark lord Sauron in Lord of the Rings, she’s not fading away any time soon.

Image by Ed Yourdon, licensed under Creative Commons

Source: The Nation