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TMT Hearing: Petitioners File Motions

March 30, 2017, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated March 30, 12:06 PM
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tmt sunset

An artist’s rendering of the Thirty Meter Telescope at sunset. TMT photo.

March 23 was the deadline to file a minute order regarding exhibits to be accepted into evidence by Hearing Officer Riki Mae Amano.

The date has passed without anything being filed.

The contested case for the Board of Land and Natural Resources Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project ended on March 2.

The suspected cause of this is that hundreds, potentially thousands, of objections by the applicant of the CDUA, University of Hawai’i at Hilo and TMT/TIO (TMT International Observatory) were filed to exhibits moved to be admitted as evidence from petitioning parties in the case.

According to a joinder motion filed by Temple of Lono in support of an initial motion by Mauna Kea Anaina Hou (MKAH), UH Hilo filed objections to approximately 237 exhibits and TMT/TIO filed 76.

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In its objections, UH Hilo stated that because the evidentiary hearings’ transcripts are still incomplete, they cannot appropriately object to hundreds of exhibits. UH Hilo goes on to say that the university “reserves the right to object further as transcripts become available,” which would be far beyond March 23.

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Retired Judge Amano scheduled a March 9 deadline for the filing of motions to have exhibits accepted to evidence. She also scheduled a March 16 deadline for filing objections to exhibits being admitted into evidence, as well as the March 23 minute order. What she failed to schedule was any time for parties to respond to objections.

The MKAH/Temple of Lono motion anticipates that these objections will require Amano to “admit hundred of exhibits over the objections of the Applicant and TMT/TIO or to exclude hundreds of exhibits to the detriment of the opponents of the permit application.”

The MKAH/Temple of Lono motion requests that Amano schedule a time period for parties to file responses to exhibit objections and calls for a public hearing to discuss this matter. Not allowing the parties sponsoring exhibits the opportunity to respond to objections, they say, is a violation of their due process rights.

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Desecration Statute Missing in Preparation of EIS

In another 56-paged motion addressed to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), the Temple of Lono called for the dismissal or denial of the permit to build atop of Mauna Kea.

The grounds for this call is due to a statute that the UH failed to include when preparing a list of statutes, regulations, rules, etc. that would apply to the environmental impact statement on the TMT project.

HRS Section 711-1107 is a statute that defines the crime of desecration. It first looks to see if Mauna Kea is found to be a place of worship, a place of burials or an object of veneration. If one of those three are found, the statute requires to find if the proposed land use will damage the site and the person damaging the site knows that the damage will cause an outrage.

If those are found true, the crime of desecration has been or is proposed to be committed and is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine up to $10,000 or both.

The Temple of Lono argues that evidence clearly shows Mauna Kea is a place of worship, a place of burials, and an object of veneration. They add that excavating 64,000 cubic yards of material and constructing an 18-story building there is considered damage to that site.

The outrage can be found by the disruption of the groundbreaking ceremony, the blockade of the construction crew by 900 people, and the 66,000 signatures on a petition of opposition.

The Temple of Lono filed this motion directly to the BLNR because Judge Amano refused to take up a similar motion regarding the desecration statute last September, said Attorney Lanny Sinkin.

RELATED LINK
TMT Hearing: Contested Case Hearing Concludes

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