Friday, October 19, 2007

Musings: Dream a Little Dream

Orion’s belt was bright when I went out this morning, and Venus a mere shimmer behind thick clouds. Our super early walk was Koko’s idea, not mine, but I exerted my authority and cut it short, thinking I’d go back to bed.

I was dreaming, sort of like the Maui environmentalists who gave Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa a list of 29 conditions they’d like to see included in the Superferry bailout bill — a bill that gives the anti-environment Lingle Administration the power to set conditions for the ferry’s operation.

Despite more than a week of closed-door meetings and political wrangling, the bill is still being hammered into something the governor, the Superferry and lawmakers can support, at which point it will be trotted out to the public to complete the sham proceedings.

As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details, but when it comes to the Superferry bailout bill, the devil is in the deal.

It ought to be against the law to overturn two court decisions with special legislation designed to favor one corporation — and under Hawaii’s Constitution, it just may be. Attorneys with some sense of right and wrong — and yes, there are a few out there — are already looking to challenge the bill in court on constitutionality issues.

Of course, this is not the first time that Hawaii’s environmental laws have been sidestepped to please corporate interests. I was up late last night listening to Walter Ritte and Jerry Konanui talk about GMO taro and their efforts to get the Lege to stymie such experiments.

Gov. Lingle is big on biotech, which means the state has been actively courting the folks who like to fiddle with the genes of various species, believing all the while that they’ll improve on nature — or at least enrich the coffers of multinational chemical corporations like Dow and Monsanto.

These companies have been allowed to operate in Hawaii with virtually no scrutiny, much less a full EIS. The little bit gleaned about their operations — including growing experimental plants containing drugs and vaccines in open air field tests — has come from lawsuits filed by Earthjustice.

Already, pollen, bacteria and other materials from these plants have been released into our environment, although we really have no idea what the consequences of such actions might be on humans or the larger ecosystem.

The purpose of conducting environmental assessments is to identify, and then mitigate, impacts before they occur. But with GMO crops and now the Superferry, our governor and lawmakers are willing to gamble — despite decades of evidence to the contrary — that once the genie is out of the bottle, they can get it back in.

They’re dreaming.


Anonymous said...

With the "29 conditions", the DUBDA cycle is currently between anger and bargening.

I don't believe the lege will take any of these conditions seriously, since a REAL condition is that the HSF agrees to the deal...and the deal must allow HSF to operate profitably.

Notice, there are no stipulations in the lege draft bill that HSF cannot lease service to the move!

Even the "29 conditions" didn't stipulate that...should they have made it 30 conditions??

Anonymous said...

ps- regarding the "unconstitutional" arguement, one blogger wrote:

"The legislature puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot, voters go for it, and voila! the plaintiffs have no more standing in court."

The voters of the whole state...think that would pass? I do.

As that great movie line states, it's time to "embrace the horror" least for those who feel it is a horror.