Dismissed lawsuit lets Superferry proceed
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by three environmental groups seeking a full environmental impact statement for a proposed interisland ferry system.
U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor's decision yesterday allows Hawaii Superferry Inc. to proceed with its plans to operate its vessels in Hawaii waters in early 2007.
"With the favorable ruling in both state and federal court, (it) allows us to move forward and close our financing, and hopefully we'll get that done in the next few weeks," said John Garibaldi, chief executive of Hawaii Superferry.
The company plans to operate two giant catamarans carrying 900 passengers and 250 vehicles between Oahu and Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. The ships will be able to travel 35 knots, or 40 mph.
The first vessel is 40 percent complete at a shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
The Sierra Club is expected to appeal yesterday's ruling.
The three groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in August to fight a categorical exclusion issued March 15 by the federal Maritime Administration that excludes the Hawaii Superferry project from federal environmental laws.