Posted by: The Amoeba | March 17, 2009

Hawai‘ian C.A.V.E.-In

We interrupt today’s blithe, trivial (not to mention old) post for an Important Announcement. About one of the most important organizations in Hawai‘ian daily life.

It doesn’t have a website. You won’t find it in anybody’s list of civic groups. But it is one of the most potent political forces on these islands.

It’s called C.A.V.E.

Citzens Against Virtually Everything.

And its latest victim is the Hawai‘i Superferry. Which, late yesterday (16 March 2009) lost its government-supported bid to operate without an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement Enemy Invasion Stopper) on file, and has had to suspend operations. Again. And possibly for the final time. To the great glee of C.A.V.E., and the consternation (not to mention bankruptcy) of everyone else, especially anyone trying to save what’s left of the economy of Hawai‘i, and especially of the “neighbor islands” (any island not sacred O‘ahu).

Your Amoeba has already posted his opinion on some of the Superferry issues; since those opinions haven’t changed much, they won’t be repeated here.

Why wasn’t an EIS filed? Well, I don’t know for sure, but I can make an educated guess. Because an EIS takes time. For one thing, the funds allocated to an EIS investigation usually wouldn’t pay for the fuel for a cruise missile, so the personnel and equipment resources available simply aren’t enough to answer the mandated questions both accurately and quickly. For another, the EIS is supposed to be an assessment of Nature at the affected site(s). And Nature is a curmudgeon that refuses to operate at the speed of business.

This turns the EIS into a powerful weapon in C.A.V.E.’s hands. Cheap and singularly effective. For the price of a single lawyer, C.A.V.E. can unleash an EIS and turn the most potent business opportunity into a quivering pile of Chapter 7 documents.

Which has compelled businesses and governments to devise ways to circumvent the EIS doomsday machine. Including the mechanism that allowed the Superferry to operate. Until yesterday.

Thus has a process, that was supposed to be a scientific service for the public good, turned into a creature of the most partisan politics, with trashed environmental science and scientists in the collateral damage of its rampages.

(I would feel better about this last statement if one of my own late scientific colleagues hadn’t been a prime motivator for the founding of C.A.V.E. in the first place.)

“It’s a tragedy what [C.A.V.E.’s torpedoing of the Superferry] says about conducting business in Hawaii”, the local paper quoted a hotel executive as saying. Crede expertum. Don’t ask me how I know. Let’s just say that, with C.A.V.E. in the field, it’s a miracle when any business, particularly any new business, takes hold here.

C.A.V.E.’s representatives in the Superferry case cried victory when the good ship went down. I wonder what C.A.V.E.’s members will do when they have to give up their Hummers, Lexuses, and BMWs as part of the wreckage of the Hawai‘ian economy. When the roads are clogged with bicycles instead of cars, and the tourists in Waikiki are all being carted about in rickshaws for pennies a day.

It would be simple justice if the passengers were Chinese, and the runners of European descent.

  O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions expressed are mine, as a private citizen.



  1. Damn.

  2. “It would be simple justice if the passengers were Chinese, and the runners of European descent.”

    i would pay to see that

  3. CAVE is Hawai’ian for NIMBY?

  4. Yep, Quilly, You’ll have to look elsewhere for your chance to shave the whales.

    I daresay, bro. And somewhere out there, the ghost of Mao is smiling.

    More inclusive, Doug. It incorporates both NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and NOBY (NObody’s Back Yard).

  5. […] both gone now. The good people of C.A.V.E. evicted the big one a month ago. And today (14 April 2009), the Honolulu City Council sank the […]

  6. […] Not that it matters. For without good will among humans, little can be accomplished in any significant endeavor. And our experience is that the “people of aloha” have a really hard time providing good will to anything. […]

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