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Friday, December 15, 2000

Hanalei boats win
reprieve from tour ban

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE -- Three of five Na Pali Coast tour boats evicted from Hanalei Bay and River on Nov. 30 by the state won a restraining order yesterday allowing them to continue operating for at least several more weeks.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor issued the order at the request of tour boat operators Bob Butler, Ralph Young and John White, all of Hanalei. It will remain in effect until Gillmor decides on a request for a preliminary injunction next month.

Butler said his boat will be back running tours as soon as the current north swell subsides.

This development is the latest chapter in an ongoing battle between boat operators and the Department of Land and Natural Resources that goes back several years.

The three boaters are alleging in federal court that their civil rights have been violated because new rules were arbitrary, reducing the number of tour boats allowed in Hanalei from 17 to zero without any scientific studies.

Howard Gehring, acting Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation administrator, was not available for comment late yesterday.

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