Postponing ferry trip was the right move
SUSPENSION of the Hawaii Superferry's runs to Kauai
Officials have announced the Alakai won't sail to Kauai until legal issues are resolved.
until legal challenges are resolved depressurizes a heated conflict that had been threatening to escalate further on the Garden Island.
Ferry company officials deserve a nod for recognizing that canceling the restart of trips to Nawiliwili Harbor, which had been set to resume Wednesday, would help to defuse the tension over the Alakai's operations.
Opposing parties now have some breathing room and Gov. Linda Lingle should use the opportunity to broker a compromise that would allow the ferry to sail while a Supreme Court-decreed environmental assessment is conducted.
Whether such a settlement can be reached is unclear because the legal challenges on Kauai and Maui are proceeding on different courses. However, both lawsuits could force the ferry to stay in port on Oahu until environmental reviews are completed. That would financially disrupt the company, which had received assurances from the Lingle administration that it did not need the review to transport passengers and vehicles between islands.
Company officials canceled service on their own without consulting with the governor or the Coast Guard, which was to provide security at Nawiliwili where protesters said they would attempt to block the ferry despite warnings of arrests.
The announcement Friday came a day after a rowdy public meeting the governor held on Kauai that had opponents, supporters and about 150 ferry employees flown in from Oahu competing to be heard. The meeting did little to calm the situation and company officials acknowledged it "was a consideration" in their decision.
The group seeking the reviews, 1000 Friends of Kauai, was relieved by the suspension because it will allow the court to possibly resolve the case at a hearing Thursday and lessen the potential for friction.
No one will benefit from disorder. No one will benefit from Hawaii's suffering another black eye. No one will benefit from a clash that will further divide residents.
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