FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hearings Officer Recommends Further Desecration of Mauna Kea
Hilo, Hawai`i -- After more than 13 months, on November 30, 2012, hearings officer Paul Aoki has finally released his report recommending that the Board of Land and Natural Resources affirm its decision to grant the University of Hawai'i a conservation district use permit to construct the 18-story high Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) and an access way on 6.2 pristine acres of the sacred cultural landscape of Mauna Kea (Mauna a Wakea).
Aoki's report follows contested case hearings held in August 2011 during which petitioners -- Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, Deborah J. Ward, Flores-Case 'Ohana, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, and Paul K. Neves -- vigorously objected to further desecration activities on Mauna a Wakea.
"We are disappointed in the Hearing Officer's report," said Kealoha Piscotta of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, "We've been fighting for Wakea for over a decade now, and we won't stop until our constitutional public trust and Native Hawaiian rights are fully protected as the state constitution requires."
"Aoki's recommendations fly in the face of earlier court determinations that astronomy industry-related construction has already imposed substantial adverse impacts on Mauna Kea," says petitioner Deborah J. Ward. Adding the TMT to the existing 13 astronomical facilities on Mauna Kea would intensify these adverse impacts. The TMT would be over 184 feet high, the tallest building on Hawai'i island and above the maximum zoning height limits for any commercial or resort buildings in Hawaiʻi County. The TMT dome - at a diameter of over 215 feet (over 2/3 the length of a football field) - would become another visual eyesore on the mountain. The proposed location for the TMT lies amidst several hundred shrines and other religious structures, where construction and traffic would adversely impact these historic and Hawaiian cultural resources. Consequently, construction of the TMT observatory would not comply with conservation district use criteria, outlined in Hawai’i Administrative Rules § 13-5-30(c).
The parties will have a chance to respond to this report and present final arguments to the BLNR in Hilo on February 12, 2013 . "This is only a set of recommendations to the BLNR and we will be filing exceptions to point out the many legal and factual errors in the hearing officer's report," said Bianca Isaki, KAHEA board member.
"Despite what was written in the report, the TMT would cause immense physical and spiritual disturbance and imbalance to this venerated mountain and to everyone and everything connected to it. Mauna a Wakea is still sacred. ” said E. Kalani Flores of the Flores-Case ‘Ohana.
Media Contact: Bianca Isaki, KAHEA board member, (808) 927-5606