Maui News

OHA Lawsuit Against State Alleges Mismanagement of Mauna Kea

November 9, 2017, 12:53 PM HST
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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has filed a lawsuit against the State of Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi for their alleged mismanagement of Mauna Kea.

Demonstrations at Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi Island (6/24/15). File photo credit: Te Rawhitiroa

OHA’s complaint requests the court to order the state to fulfill its trust obligations relating to Mauna Kea and to terminate the university’s general lease for the mountain.

Trustee Dan Ahuna who chairs the OHA Ad Hoc Committee on Mauna Kea said the state and UH have demonstrated an inability to ensure that the environmental and cultural significance of the mountain is recognized and protected.

Although the area has been the subject of contentious debates relating to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, Ahuna said, “This is not about any one telescope. This lawsuit is about addressing the state’s failure to manage the entire mountain for nearly half a century.”

Meantime, officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said, “DLNR remains committed to its stated mission of enhancing, protecting, conserving and managing Hawaiʻi’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust…in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.”

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Dan Dennison, Senior Communications Manager with the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources issued the statement saying, “We are in the process of reviewing the complaint,” and, “We will comment further at an appropriate time.”

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