House Majority Takes First Step in Superferry Solution - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

House Majority Takes First Step in Superferry Solution

Governor Linda Lingle Governor Linda Lingle
Rep. Joe Bertram Rep. Joe Bertram

By Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- During an emergency caucus Wednesday, House Democrats agreed the legislature needs to step in to prevent the Superferry from leaving Honolulu Harbor to head back to the mainland. Their dilemma? They're not sure exactly how to do that.

Freeing the Superferry from Honolulu Harbor, and letting it set sail again could be on the horizon if lawmakers decide to side with Governor Linda Lingle.

The Governor wants to create a bill, allowing the Superferry to travel again while an environmental assessment is conducted.

Representative Joe Bertram, (D) Makena, Wailea, Kihei, said the state doesn't need to overrule the Superferry court decision on Maui. Lawmakers could simple speed up the environmental review process.

"It's not rocket science," he said. "It can be done and they could do it the right way, make sure all the t's and i's are done, but let's get it done fast."

"Under both an environmental assessment and environmental impact statement, you can expedite them, but if you're concerned about significant impacts, then you can expedite the whole process by going directly to the EIS," said Michael Formby, deputy director of the Department of Transportation's Harbors Division.

In order for the Governor's plan to go through, the Attorney General must submit a proposal. Both the House and the Senate must agree to the bill.  Only then can the Governor call an emergency five-day session for lawmakers to decide if and how they can save the Superferry.

The Attorney General is expected to submit a proposal Thursday. The House must then hold another caucus to review it. The Senate meets Thursday afternoon.

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