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Hawaii Superferry Docked Pending EIS; Will Noise be Considered?

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The Hawaii Superferry, which began operations last summer under a special state law that allowed it to begin runs while completing its state-regulated Environmental Impact Statement, has been docked after the state supreme court ruled the law unconstitutional. The EIS is underway, amidst vehement complaints that it is a toothless process. The Ferry is under fire on several fronts, including that it uses massive amounts of fossil fuels, and that it travels at such a fast speed that whale strikes are more likely. According to some local activists, the ferry company has resisted requests to do underwater noise studies; some locals claim the ferry will produce Level B Harassment of whales (i.e. cause behavioral changes) at distances up to 1000 yards. Hawaiian waters are also home to many freighters, delivering essential goods; how loud are they? I wouldn’t be surprised if they also trigger behavioral changes out to a half mile to mile. Should the Ferry have to meet a different standard? Or, is it indeed much louder than tankers and freighters? For more on this see the following media reports:
The Nation, 2/25/09: big picture view of local resistance to the Ferry
KHNL, 3/17/09: report on the suspension of service after the court ruling
Honolulu Advertiser, 3/19/09: Hearing on EIS
Honolulu Weekly, 3/18/09: Noise concerns

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