Surfrider Foundation’s Kauai Chapter Leads Influential Protest
Activists across Kauai had reason to celebrate this past weekend after Hawaii Superferry officials announced late Friday evening that they had cancelled plans to resume service to the island.
Long opposed by environmental and community activists throughout Hawaii’s outer islands, the Hawaii Superferry ran into particularly strong opposition when it attempted to dock in Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor last month, where it was met by approximately one thousand local protesters.
By far, the greatest concern voiced from the crowd was the Superferry’s decision to initiate service despite having failed to submit a court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Activists contend that the Hawaii Superferry, whose twin hull design is capable of reaching speeds as high as 35 miles per hour, poses a risk to marine life. According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawaiian waters are replete with several species of federally designated endangered or threatened marine animals, including the Hawaiian monk seal, humpback whale and three species of sea turtle.
The protest made national headlines when Kauai resident and longtime Surfrider Foundation activist Steve Valiere led 300 activists out into harbor water and managed to block the Superferry from docking for over three hours before he was apprehended and arrested by U.S. Coast Guard officials.
Despite a pledge by Governor Linda Lingle to support the Hawaii Superferry, company officials decided to cancel service to Kauai for the safety of the community, passengers and employees.
Inspired by this victory, Surfrider Foundation activists across Hawaii are vowing to keep the pressure on until Hawaii Superferry officials complete the required EIS.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, go to www.surfrider.org.