East Hawaii News

OHA Objects to Mauna Kea Rule Enforcement

July 31, 2015, 8:20 PM HST
* Updated July 31, 8:22 PM
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After seven arrests took place early Friday morning atop Mauna Kea, Office of Hawaiian Affairs chairman Robert Lindsey called for the state to halt enforcement of its controversial emergency rules.

The individuals were arrested atop Mauna Kea around 2 a.m. for allegedly violating terms of the 120-day emergency rules set in place by the Board of Land and Natural Resources on July 10 and signed by Governor David Ige on July 14.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Senior Communication Manager Dan Dennison told Big Island Now earlier in the week that signage had been constructed in the area informing individuals about the rules.

In addition, Dennison said the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers had spent time during the week passing out flyers.

Lindsey said the enforcement of the emergency rules should cease until certain legal questions are answered.

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“The Office of Hawaiian Affairs urges the state to cease further enforcement action and arrests until legal questions relating to the Mauna Kea emergency rules are properly resolved,” Lindsey said. “Native Hawaiians have constitutionally protected rights to reasonably engage in traditional and customary practices, and regulations cannot eliminate the exercise of these rights. We hope for a resolution that ensures our beneficiaries’ rights are protected instead of violated.”

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The emergency rules say that for 120 days following July 14, the Mauna Kea Access Road is off-limits to anyone who is not in a vehicle traveling between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. In addition, the rules prohibit items that are considered camping gear within one mile of the road at any time.

Along with the seven arrests, six citations were issued.

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