Hawaii Superferry bill must pass one more step

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Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to sign a bill next week that will allow the Hawaii Superferry to resume operations while the state conducts an environmental review of the project. The state Legislature passed the bill earlier this week.

The legislation also gives the governor the right to impose operating conditions on the ferry to protect whales, prevent the spread of invasive species and protect natural and cultural resources.

Lingle met yesterday with environmental groups and Hawaii Superferry officials to discuss the operating conditions for the ferry. Sources told the Honolulu Advertiser, a local newspaper in Hawaii, that the meeting was "positive and productive."

The ferry project has faced stiff opposition from environmentalists and some residents, especially on Maui and Kauai. The state plans to ask that the Maui Circuit Court to lift an injunction that stopped the vessel from using Kahului Harbor until the environmental review is completed.

In Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor in August, residents took to the water on surfboards to block the ferry. Lingle said she believes harbor security has been improved and that the U.S. Coast Guard will be prepared in both harbors.

To contact reporter Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].

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