Governor Ige Rescinds Emergency Proclamation at Maunakea

July 30, 2019, 1:58 PM HST · Updated July 31, 7:41 AM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Governor David Ige today rescinded the emergency proclamation that he had issued for Maunakea on July 17th, noting that there are no immediate plans to move heavy equipment atop the mountain and there are two hurricanes being tracked in the Pacific.

Department of Land and Natural Resources chair Suzanne Case said the revised deadline to initiate construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope project is Sept. 26, 2021. 

According to Gov. Ige, the University of Hawaiʻi asked for a two-year extension of the Conservation District Use Permit construction deadlines at the request this morning of the TMT project.  The Department of Land and Natural Resources has granted the extension for the initiation of construction.

Gov. Ige also rescinded the emergency proclamation that was in place for Maunakea. “As you know, we have two hurricanes that have come in to impact the state in the next few days.”  He continued saying, “We don’t expect on moving equipment at this time.”

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“I want to assure everyone that we ware committed. Law enforcement officers will remain at the site to ensure the safety of all those involved.  We continue to seek and find a peaceful solution to move this project forward,” said Gov. Ige.

The University of Hawaiʻi Hilo is the permittee on the Conservation District Use permit for the TMT project.  UH Hilo submitted the request this morning to the DLNR seeking an extension on the initiation of construction.

DLNR chair Case said, “We reviewed the request and we believe that they have made good faith efforts to move forward. Their efforts have been blocked by protesters on the mountain, blocking the access road to their construction equipment which they mobilized.  Also, the initial two-year deadline for starting construction, counted from the date of issuance of the permit–that date was delayed while they held off initiating construction pending the resolution of the appeal at the Supreme Court. So they actually had less than a year to initiate construction.  So based on that, we had no problem with their request and issued the extension.”

Meantime, demonstrations are now in a third week.  A statement was issued from the Maunakea ʻOhana at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu, the place of refuge, established at the base of Maunakea Access Road, saying protectors celebrate the adjusted timing, but call it a “stall tactic.”  The group has vowed not to step away from the struggle to protect Maunakea, culture and unity, saying they are “ready to sustain for as long as it takes.”

The full text of the statement issued by the group is posted below:

Press Statement from Pu’uhonua o Pu’uhuluhulu (July 30, 2019)

Today we celebrate a victory that reaffirms our resolve. Governor Ige has admitted that he underestimated our strength, unity, and broad public support. Our numbers continue to grow and his ability to oppose his own people is becoming less and less justifiable. Ige’s rescinding of the emergency proclamation illustrates how he can no longer claim that we are threatening public safety. We are the public.

We also celebrate Governor Ige’s adjusted timing. It’s a stall tactic. Governor Ige has been forced to lean on this tactic because he understands we are not stepping away from this struggle. It is a struggle that communities across Hawaiʻi have faced for far too long—our government agencies who are supposed to protect what our society values are instead skirting the law and acting on behalf of private corporate interests.

Our movement of aloha ‘āina has ignited not just Hawaiians but people worldwide who want to protect Hawaiʻi from self-serving, big-business.

We value Maunakea, our culture, and our unity. Protecting them is a struggle we are ready to sustain for as long as it takes.

Meantime, Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, one of the leaders at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu said, “We are aware of the two incoming storms and we are tracking and monitoring them very closely… If necessary we are willing and ready to evacuate this area to ensure the safety of everyone here.”  His complete statement and video is available HERE.

Maunakea crowd from above. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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