East Hawaii News

Governor’s Office Addresses TMT Protest

June 24, 2015, 5:55 PM HST
* Updated June 24, 6:05 PM
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Governor David Ige’s Chief of Staff Mike McCartney released a statement Wednesday evening the day’s protests on Mauna Kea of the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

In the statement, McCartney noted that a total of eleven individuals were arrested. These individuals are in addition to one person arrested by the Hawai’i Police Department. HPD’s arrest was made on the Hawai’i County portion of the Mauna Kea Access Road.

“The arrests are unfortunate, but the state’s number one priority is the safety of the people on Mauna Kea – from TMT workers to protestors who are exercising their first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and protest in a civil manner,” McCartney said.

“We are disappointed and concerned that large boulders were found in the roadway leading to the summit of Mauna Kea. This action is a serious and significant safety hazard and could put people at risk.

“Because of this, we are making an assessment to determine how to proceed.”

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McCartney also stated that the State will work to clear the roadway on Thursday, putting TMT construction on hold until further notice.

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According to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, access to the station and beyond has been blocked as work, in cooperation with the DLNR, is underway to assess the situation. The MKVIS says a reopening date and time of the area is undetermined.

Governor Ige remains in Washington, D.C. for The Washington Post energy forum that was held on Tuesday. He is meeting with Hawai’i’s congressional delegation and federal officials before heading back to Hawai’i on Thursday.

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