Superferry, Environmentalists React to Maui Ruling

John Garibaldi
John Garibaldi
Isaac Hall
Isaac Hall
Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett

MAUI (KHNL) --  A Maui judge clears the way for the Hawaii Superferry to resume service to the Valley Isle.  But, a lawyer for several Maui environmentalists says the fight is not over yet.

Naturally, Superferry officials are relieved, but their opponents say they're not ready to give up the fight.

The Maui courthouse was a hotbed of activity Wednesday.  Opponents on both sides eagerly anticipated Judge Joseph Cardoza's ruling on whether or not to lift an injunction that prevented the Hawaii Superferry from coming back to Maui.  After he ruled in favor of the Superferry, CEO John Garibaldi breathed a sigh of relief.

"It's a new beginning for us," said Garibaldi. "We're going to be looking to get going into service near and we'll be announcing plans in the next few days."

He said this was a do-or-die situation for the company.

"It's getting tight," he said.  "(Wednesday's) decision kind of -- If it had gone the other way, it would've been a drastic one for us so we've been holding very tight on things."

Isaac Hall, the environmental groups' lawyer, said this is far from over.

The outer islands, even though temporarily defeated by the dissolution of the injunction, are strongly committed to opposing all of these actions that harm our environment," said Hall.

He said environmental groups in neighbor islands will continue to unite in opposing the Maui ruling.

"It's a positive thing because this strong coalition between the islands has come together, and is not just going to stand and take this," said Hall.

But Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett hopes they protest in a peaceful and law-abiding manner.

"It is our hope that everyone, as Judge Cardoza said, will respect the rule of law, will follow the law and resort to legal process if they believe Judge Cardoza made a mistake in his legal ruling," said Bennett.

A ruling that will continue to ripple in the weeks and months to come.

Garibaldi said he hopes to re-hire his furloughed employees and start back up in a couple of weeks.  Hall plans to appeal Wednesday's ruling to the Hawaii Supreme Court.