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TMT Hearing Continues

December 17, 2016, 7:46 AM HST
* Updated December 26, 8:00 AM
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News sources said that hearing officer Judge Riki Mau Amano denied a request on Friday, Dec. 16, to put the process on hold following a recent ruling on the project’s sublease.

On Thursday, Third Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura ruled that the Board of Land and Natural Resources violated the constitutional rights of E. Kalani Flores back in 2014, when it denied his request for a contested case hearing before consenting to the University of Hawai‘i’s sublease of the summit-area land to TMT International Observatory.

Some declared Friday that TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) no longer has a sublease and should be dismissed from the hearing since it wouldn’t have a property interest.

TIO called David Callies, a land use law professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, who teaches courses in state and local government, land use, and property law to the witness stand on Friday.

Sources said he testified that the “public trust doctrine” doesn’t require “pristine and absolute preservation,” but rather a balance of uses and the doctrine mostly involves water resources and doesn’t apply to Mauna Kea.

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During cross-examination, project opponents noted that his view conflicts with parts of the concurring opinion in the 2015 Supreme Court appeal.

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The hearing is also scheduled for Dec. 19 and 20, as well as Jan. 3 to 5, 9 to 12, 19, 23 to 26, 30 and 31.

At this time, the hearing is expected to be in session through February 2017.

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