Hawaii Superferry poised for return to action

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The Hawaii State Legislature, completing a week-long special session, approved a bill that allows the controversial interisland Hawaii Superferry to operate while an environmental assessment of its impact is being conducted.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to sign the bill this week; one of the provisions of the bill is that the government can place operating conditions on ferry service to protect whales and other marine life, prevent the spread of invasive species and preserve cultural and natural resources.

The bill would overturn a Maui court ruling that blocked Hawaii Superferry from using Mauis Kahului Harbor until the state completes an environmental review.

The state Supreme Court ruled in August that the state was in error in February 2005 when it exempted the project from an environmental assessment.

Hawaii Superferry CEO John Garibaldi said after the vote that he hopes to resume service between Oahu and Maui and Kauai by Nov. 15.

To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].

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