Emotions Boil Over at Governor's Superferry Meeting

LIHUE (KHNL) - Judging by Thursday night's intense face-off with Governor Linda Lingle, there's a pretty good chance the Superferry could come across another round of protests at Nawiliwili Harbor.

The Coast Guard stressed again - protestors who attempt another human blockade on the Superferry's path will be arrested.

If Thursday's meeting with the Governor is an indication people will heed that warning, protesters will not likely back down.

For nearly fours hours, friction echoed throughout the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

"You yell out, you don't let people speak," says Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste.

At the heart of the emotionally-charged meeting between Governor Lingle and Superferry protestors - an EIS or environmental impact statement the Superferry has yet to do. Many also fear the maiden voyage will bring problems to Kauai, such as added traffic, drugs, crime, and pollution.

"Why is the state not aligning itself in court with the people for the preservation of Kauai?," Kauai Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura asked the Governor.

"I believe and still believe it's an important option for the people of our state to have to be able to travel," Governor Lingle replied.

The Superferry arrives at Nawiliwili Harbor on the 26th. The Coast Guard will set aside an area for protestors and extend the security zone to make sure the ship docks safely.

"Are you scared for the people of Kauai on Wednesday? People are going to protest mayor," asked one protestor.

"I worry everyday...however, I do not have anything to legally say that the Superferry cannot come to Kauai," said Mayor Baptiste.

At the end of the meeting, Governor Lingle spent time with residents to talk story about their concerns. Whether her personal visit with protestors will help calm tensions, remains to be seen when the Superferry arrives in Kauai.

There were plenty of supporters who showed up at the meeting as well. Several Kauai residents say the ship makes it easier to connect friends and families throughout the islands. One supporter was a woman with a disability, who said boarding the Superferry is much easier than boarding a plane.

Many Superferry supporters and opponents did share at least one common ground - they gave Governor Lingle credit for daring to come face-to-face with some of the Superferry's most fierce opponents.