KAHEA's Statement at Kū Kiaʻi Mauna Press Conference

Posted by Lauren Muneoka at Jun 28, 2019 06:10 PM |

Aloha, my name is Shelley Muneoka and Iʻm speaking today as a board member of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. Last weekʻs press conference hit the pinnacle of absurdity when just hours after seeing cherished hale and ahu destroyed, Governor Ige declared that the State would “proceed in a way that respects the people, place and culture that make Hawaiʻi unique”. Itʻs not respectful to throw cultural and religious items into a truck labeled “Junk Removal”. Nor is it respectful to see workers flinging the stones that once formed the foundation of a beloved community gathering space through their legs. UH President Lassner offered an apology for the pain that he knows TMT will cause, but forges ahead anyway. He claimed that TMT will be the last new site developed on Mauna Kea and pledged to decommission 5 other telescopes -- which is already a requirement of the current general lease that expires in 2033 and is therefore an unimpressive claim of mitigation for the construction of an 18-story building. Governor Ige closed with a patronizing warning to those who want to “exercise their constitutional right of free speech” to conduct ourselves without endangering the lives of others. An ironic statement considering that in the past kiaʻi mauna on Haleakalā -- also defending against a telescope -- shielded with lei, prayer and song, were confronted by law enforcement armed with guns, riot gear and a sound cannon. A military grade weapon that KAHEA recently learned docare (dlnr enforcement) has procured.

Following last weekʻs insistence by the state that TMT had met all its pre-construction conditions, KAHEA sent out an action alert to our supporters about a hearing for a water permit that we believed TMT had yet to obtain. Over 1,400 people submitted testimony in just a few days, showing how much Mauna Kea means to our community. Unfortunately, we learned that the department of Health elected to grant an administrative extension on TMTʻs 2014 stormwater runoff permit, buying them another 5 years without any further public review. This is the technicality on which TMT claims to have “obtained” this necessary permit. Today we challenge UH, TMT and the State to not merely aim for what is technically legal, but for what is right, fair and moral.

I just want to close with a quick message to the kiaʻi across the pae ʻāina and beyond. Itʻs time for hard conversations with family and friends. We need you to reach out and educate the people who know and trust you. Now is the time to prepare. Find like-minded, like-valued folks and form relationships and make plans to take care of each other in this struggle. We have a long road ahead and it is important to mālama ourselves and each other. Many people have asked about fundraisers or ways to help, we will be putting out a list of vetted organizations to give to, please look for that and give to whoever you know and trust. Mahalo nui to everyone for coming today, to the kiaʻi standing behind us and for those who continue to stand. We want to especially thank the speakers who represent a broad base of support and love for Mauna Kea.

Press Release for Kū Kiaʻi Mauna Press Conference on Friday, June 28th

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