East Hawaii News

Mauna Kea Hui Responds to Ige on TMT

April 20, 2015, 12:11 PM HST
* Updated April 20, 12:19 PM
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In response to Governor David Ige’s Friday announcement that Thirty Meter Telescope officials have postponed project construction for the third time, this time with no end date to the pause, Mauna Kea Hui has issued a statement.

The primary spokesperson for the Mauna Kea Hui and Mauna Kea ‘Ohana, Kealoha Pisciotta, opened by saying, “We are deeply moved and gratified by the overwhelming public support we’ve received from throughout the archipelago and across the globe – from people of all ethnicity in Hawai’i and people from many countries and cultures across the world. Aloha Nui… Aloha Nui!”

Pisciotta continued:

“In regard to Governor David Ige’s April 17 statement on the TMT controversy, we want to thank the Governor and his staff for acknowledging—and respecting—the Mauna Kea Hui’s right to appeal through our court system wrongful decisions made by the State, and in so doing seeking justice.

“We also appreciate the Governor’s recognition of two important tasks ahead: the decommissioning and removal of older telescopes ‘to restore the summit’ of our sacred mountain—something we’ve long called for—and ‘reducing the level of activity on the summit,’ which now bustles with intrusive observatory traffic and commercial tour operators.

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In the statement, Pisciotta announced that the Protect Mauna Kea petition has over 53,000 signatures. Mauna Kea Hui representatives and the petition flew from Hawai’i Island to Governor Ige to present the signatures.

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“The Petition count is still rolling and will continue to roll. What these signatures show is that there is an awakening …awakening of Aloha and it is far reaching. The awakening not just a Hawaiian issue or a local issue it is a global issues—and it is not about us versus them—or even about winning or losing. It is about re-visioning how we want to live in the world—we are the children of Papahānaumoku (Earth Mother) and Wakea (Sky Father) and we want to live in harmony within our world and to do this we must change the way we live for our children and our children’s children so they will have a place on Earth and a future.  This is Aloha `Aina!” Pisciotta stated.

Mauna Kea Hui is also asking Governor Ige to intervene on behalf of the Mauna Kea 31.

“We are distressed that the Governor in his April 17 message said nothing about our brothers and sisters—the Mauna Kea 31—who were arrested on April 2 trying to protect their mountain from further desecration. These people are scheduled to be arraigned on various charges on April 28 and May 7. We call on the Governor to intervene on behalf of the protectors by insisting that enforcement officials of his own Department of Land and Natural Resources drop the charges, and by asking the Hawaiʻi County Prosecutor to do the same.

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“Labeling as criminal those peaceful acts of civil assistance (not disobedience, in that we were preventing the TMT construction workers from committing the crime of desecration under HRS 711-1107), and acts done out of love to protect the mountain, insults Hawaiʻi’s long traditions of aloha, compassion, and respect. What is perhaps most egregious is that these acts of protection are being so labelled in order to protect a special interest corporation from California and abroad.”

In her statement, Pisciotta says Mauna Kea Hui is looking for Governor Ige to withdraw his nomination of Douglas Chin, State Attorney General, because of a conflict of interest in the adjudication of the group’s Mauna Kea appeals.

“He was the managing partner of the law firm Carlesmith Ball LLP,  the very law firm that is representing the University of Hawai’i and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT Project) in our current lawsuits. This is completely unreasonable and sends a message that nothing has changed and it is business as usual—a position you have tried to change. Now is that time for that change Mr. Ige. We call on you to withdraw Doug Chin’s appointment or to appoint a special Deputy AG who does not have such a conflict to review the Mauna Kea situation. Because Mr. Ige, this simply will not work,” Pisciotta explained.

TMT officials have not released information on their plan for continued construction.

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