Maui court to consider Hawaii Superferry plea to resume service

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One of the last hurdles left for Hawaii Superferry to clear in its two-month-long effort to resume service may come on Nov. 14 when the Maui Circuit Court holds a hearing to consider a motion by the State of Hawaii and Hawaii Superferry requesting the end to an injunction prohibiting the ferry from operating in Maui's Kahului Harbor.

The court imposed the injunction on Oct. 9, ruling the ferry could not operate until the state completed a study to determine whether the inter-island service would have a negative impact on sea life and the environment.

Hawaiis legislature later passed legislation signed into law by Gov. Linda Lingle that permits Hawaii Superferry to resume service while an environmental impact study is conducted.

While the law was crafted with input from several stakeholders, including environmental groups, there are indications that hearing may not be smooth sailing for the Superferry.

The Hawaii Advertiser, a local newspaper, reported that a lawyer representing the environmental groups that pressed for the injunction intends to argue to the court to keep it in place.

Environmental groups, which have protested the high-speed ferry even before it began operating for a short time in late August, contend that as it operates between Oahu, Maui and Kauai it could pose a risk to humpback whales and other sea life.

To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].

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