East Hawaii News

Gov. Ige: Mauna Kea Road ‘Belongs to All’

June 26, 2015, 2:16 PM HST
* Updated June 26, 2:17 PM
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As protests continue, Governor David Ige says he will ensure safe accessible roadways on Mauna Kea.

In a statement Friday, Governor Ige expressed his concern over recent attempts to restrict access to Thirty Meter Telescope construction crews. Despite the recent announcement that TMT construction is once again on hold, the governor says that plans to safely proceed are underway.

“We are a patient people in Hawai‘i. We listen to and understand differing points of view, and we respect the many cultures of this land, especially that of the host culture,” Gov. Ige stated. “I have done my very best to follow this process in the case of Mauna Kea and set forth a way forward that I believe is reasonable.

“We expected there to be a protest when construction resumed, and there was. We hoped we would not have to arrest people but were prepared to do so, and we did when they blocked the roadway. We also saw, in what amounts to an act of vandalism, the roadway blocked with rocks and boulders. We deployed to remove the rocks and boulders, but the protesters wisely chose to remove them themselves.

“And then we saw more attempts to control the road. That is not lawful or acceptable to the people of Hawai‘i. So let me be very direct: The roads belong to all the people of Hawai‘i and they will remain open. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure lawful access. We expect there to be more types of challenges, good and bad days, and we are in this for the long run. We value TMT and the contributions of science and technology to our society, and we continue our support of the project’s right to proceed.

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“We are currently working to find ways to enable the TMT project to proceed safely without putting workers, protestors and the general public at risk.”

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Access to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station and beyond remains closed, as announced Wednesday, until further notice.

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