Ferry compromise encouraged
WAILUKU » An attorney for Maui County said she's "hopeful" that various groups can get together and resolve their differences rather than engage in a legal dispute over the proposed interisland Superferry.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Jane Lovell said the county wants to work cooperatively to see if the parties, including the state Department of Transportation, can develop an appropriate environmental examination of the Hawaii Superferry's impact, as well as mitigation measures.
"The county is certainly willing to talk," Lovell said.
Second Circuit Judge Joel August decided Monday that two Maui environmental groups had legal standing to challenge the state's contention that an environmental assessment was enough to look at the impact of the Superferry on Kahului Harbor.
But August encouraged the two groups, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, along with the county to meet to try to resolve the issue outside of court.
August has not ruled on whether the state should be required to prepare an environmental impact statement -- a study that could push back the scheduled opening of the operation of the Superferry in July.
The judge's ruling on legal standing followed his recent review of potential changes in traffic at the harbor as a result of the Superferry.
Lovell said that at this time, the county's position is that a full environmental impact statement is warranted and the Superferry should not enter Kahului Harbor until its impacts on all harbor improvements are studied and mitigation measures are adopted.
The county became a party in the lawsuit after interisland cargo provider Young Brothers said it was planning to terminate its shipping service to goods that were less than a container load because it was losing precious harbor space as a result of the arrival of the Superferry.
Young Brothers later decided to delay its termination of service to shippers that had less than a container load of goods after a state-involved land swap resulted in more working space for the company.