Despite legal challenges by
Under Hawaii’s environmental law (HRS Ch. 343), an environmental assessment is triggered, inter alia, by actions that propose the use of state or county lands or the use of state or county funds. However, application of
The State Department of Transportation (“DOT”) declared the actions proposed by the Superferry were exempt; therefore, no environmental assessment was required. The Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow Inc, and the Kahului Harbor Coalition sued the Department of Transportation, the Hawaii Superferry and its directors in
While the case was on appeal, the legislature attempted to subject the Superferry to the state’s environmental laws despite the DOT’s determination with two bills: HB702 (2007) and its companion SB1276 (2007). On
[T]heSee Sierra Club v. Hawaii Dept. of Transportation (Civ. No. 05-1-0114), No. 27407 (Haw. S. Ct., Aug. 23, 2007. Listen to oral arguments here.
July 12, 2005judgment of the circuit court of the second circuit in this case is reversed. The Hawai`i Department of Transportation's determination that the improvements to the Kahului Harbor, on the Island of Maui, are exempt from the requirements of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) chapter 343 (Supp. 2004) was erroneous as a matter of law, and we therefore instruct the circuit court to enter summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs-Appellants the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow, Inc., and the Kahului Harbor Coalition on their claim as to the request for an environmental assessment.
The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the circuit court for “such other and further disposition of any remaining claims as may be appropriate” while retaining “concurrent jurisdiction to enter an opinion and judgment that will follow.” After the Sierra Club decision, the Superferry moved up its launch date raising the ire of Kauai County protesters.
In a separate case, Maui Tomorrow Inc., Friends of Haleakala National Park Inc., Kahului Harbor Coalition and the