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Hawaii's Superferry service OKd

November 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

WAILUKU, HAWAII — A state judge on Maui cleared the way Wednesday for the Hawaii Superferry to operate without an environmental assessment.

Judge Joseph Cardoza cited a new state law passed in emergency legislative session in reversing his injunction against operation of Hawaii's first inter-island car and passenger service.

Cardoza rejected arguments that the action would violate the state constitution or cause environmental harm that requires court intervention.

"The obligation of a court is to follow the laws enacted by the Legislature," Cardoza said. He ordered immediate dismissal of a case brought by environmental groups fearful that the ferry would harm whales and spread non-native species from island to island.

Superferry Chief Executive John Garibaldi said outside the courtroom that ferry service probably would resume in about two weeks.

The first of two 350-foot catamarans has been sitting idle in Honolulu Harbor for weeks during the legal and political struggle.

The ferries would link Oahu, Maui, Kauai and eventually the Big Island in Hawaii's first alternative to air travel.

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