From Kealoha of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou:
Today we come to you because we need your help. We come to you because we have some unfortunate news that weighs heavy on our hearts. But, we come also with a call of hope and Aloha in standing firm…for our beloved Mauna Kea! (Please see also attached MKHUI and KAHEA testimony in opposition to the TMT Conservation district permit)
The Unfortunate News
On October 23, 2010, the University of the Hawai`i (UH) and the Thirty Meter Telescope Corporation (TMT Corp) submitted their Conservation District Use Permit to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) asking permission to build the “world’s largest telescope” — the TMT — on Mauna Kea. We knew that this proposal was looming but now it is definite. Make no mistake; the TMT Corporation wants to build their immense telescope on our belovedMauna Kea!
This telescope will our biggest challenge yet! Are you ready to join us in this new battle to saveMauna Kea?
TMT = The Monster Telescope is Too Many Telescopes
The TMT is the Thirty Meter Telescope. It is proposed for construction on the last untouched plateau in the Mauna Kea Conservation District. It is proposed to be 18-stories tall and larger than 9 football fields (8.7 acres on the plateau and 4 acres in the Natural Area Reserve). Construction of this telescope means digging 2 stories into Mauna Kea and removing 64,000 square feet of `aina. If built, it will negatively impact the integrity of Mauna Kea’s status as a National Landmark, Historic District and our burial grounds. It will add a new peak to the profile of the summit, and ruin sacred view planes, including those between Haleakalā and Mauna Kea, which is the last view plane on the summit that is unobstructed by man-made structures.
Kūpuna Inspired Action
Many years ago our treasured Kupuna, many of whom have already taken the journey into the realm of the ancestors, challenged us to walk the path of Aloha `Aina for Mauna Kea. They challenged us to call for an end, once and for all, to the desecration and destruction of the delicate and sacred landscape of Mauna Kea. This set us on a long journey attempting to compel state lawmakers and other decisions-makers to stop using the Mauna Kea Conservation District as an industrial park for astronomy and instead to support protecting and caring for the delicate ecosystem of our beloved Mauna Kea, as the law requires.
Astronomy is not the problem—it’s the State’s BLNR that continues to improperly allow these big machines to built where they are not supposed to be built. Mauna Kea is a conservation district not a development district or industrial zone–so, they need to stop telling us astronomy is good because it doesn’t matter if its good or bad — conservation is the law here and if astronomers don’t like it they should go somewhere else where the laws are different.
Clarence Kukauakahi Ching
The people agree the State Constitution and the Kingdom laws have always protected the `Aina. Astronomy, on the other hand, is not protected by any law…and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that.
Ali`i Sir Paul K. Neves
Enough is enough
Enough… was really enough about eleven (11) giant telescopes ago!
We recently agreed to meet with the TMT corporate partners in hopes of compelling them to reconsider their decision to build the TMT on Mauna Kea.
We agreed to meet with the TMT Corporation proponents because from the beginning of this struggle the Kupuna encouraged us to share the importance of Mauna Kea, to help the astronomers understand just how special and important Mauna Kea is to the people and the world—believing astronomers would come to see the reasons for caring for Mauna Kea’s delicate and sacred landscape, rather than destroying it.
Our pleas for protecting Mauna Kea thus far have fallen upon deaf ears for more than fifteen (15) years. Our failed dialogs with UH, state, federal decision makers and now the TMT corporate partners, have forced us into numerous administrative and court battles. We are currently in the Intermediate Court of Appeals contesting the UH’s alleged “Comprehensive Management Plan”, awaiting BLNR’s decision to grant a contested case hearing in the matter of UH’s cultural, natural, public access and decommissioning plans for Mauna Kea and now, preparing to engage the TMT Corporation and their corporate partners.
We are prepared to take our cases all the way to the Hawai`i Supreme Court, if necessary. But we cannot do this by ourselves–we need your Aloha and Kokua—are you ready to join us yet again on the path of Aloha `Aina to save Mauna Kea?
The Reasons to Fight for Mauna Kea—Hope and Aloha!
The legal battles have ensured that for the last decade no new development was allowed on Mauna Kea, but the UH has been working hard behind the scenes to set up a fake system to push open the door for really big developments—like the TMT, which alone will have an industrial foot print big as nine (9) football fields. Can you imagine looking at something like Aloha stadium on the summit?
With such impending challenges ahead, we are called to remember that all hope remains in Aloha. All that has been won for Mauna Kea (and Haleakala too), has been won because of Aloha—that which flows from the hearts of the people, the ancestors and the Heavens. There is no question, Aloha gave us the strength to fight and win in both the state and federal court battles. It is this Aloha we call upon now—a call to battle to save Mauna Kea!
Kahea to Battle—Now!
We hope and pray this will be a final call to such battles.
This is our kahea to each and every one of you–join with us today— in defense of the delicate life forms found on Mauna Kea and nowhere else on earth.
What is Needed Today
This week, on December 2 and 3, the BLNR (Land Board) will be holding public hearings on the TMT Corporation’s application to build their enormous observatory, office building, parking lot, road, construction batch plant, and proposed gift shop. A`ole.
Please come and be heard! More information and a flyer attached below. Please distribute to all of your friends and ohana , post to your social networks and help us get the kahea out. Mahalo!
The Mauna Kea Hui
Mauna Kea `Ānaina Hou
Clarence Kukauakahi Ching
Kalai Moku, Ali`i Sir Paul K. Neves, Royal Order of Kamehameha I
You have a right to be heard!
Public Hearings on the TMT permit application will be held on Dec 2 (Hawaii County Council Room, Hilo) and Dec 3 (NELHA Gateway Center) at 6PM.
The people of Hawai`i have a right to protect our local lifestyle and the spirit of aloha of Hawai`i nei. All public trust resources belong to the public. When we protect our public trust resources, when we protect Mauna Kea, we are protecting our way of life, our future generations, and the abundance of our island home. We have a right to live in a beautiful and abundantHawai`i.
This means we have a right to say, “No.” We have a right to protect the things that are precious to us.
Today, you CAN: State your opposition to TMT, and tell them you expect a better future for our mountain, our communities, and our Hawai`i. COME OUT AND BE HEARD!
Know your Rights!
● Mauna Kea is the primary aquifer for the island of Hawai`i. This is where our County water comes from. Clean water is protected by law. You have a right to advocate for clean water.
● Mauna Kea is sacred space. Mauna Kea is Wao Akua. Religious and cultural practice are protected by law. You have a right to advocate for the protection of wahi pana and the continuation of traditional cultural practice.
● Mauna Kea is a natural landmark and designated a National Historic District. Further industrial development puts these designations at risk. The law protects historic, cultural and religious sites of the summit. You have a right to advocate for the future of these important sites.
● Mauna Kea is home to unique habitat and rare species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. Construction of the TMT will destroy habitat and put endemic, native species at risk of extinction. The law is meant to protect species from extinction.You have a right to advocate for the future of native plants and animals of the summit.
● Mauna Kea is “ceded” public trust lands, currently leased and subleased to some of the wealthiest countries, corporations, and institutions on the planet for a mere $1/year. The law requires fair market leases rents for the use of all “ceded” public trust lands. As a member of the public, you have a right to demand fair payment for development that has ALREADY occurred, and a right to say “no” to more $1/year developments.
● Mauna Kea is a burial ground, where some of the highest-born ancestors were layed to rest. The law protects burials from desecration. Native Hawaiians have a right to defend our ancestors.
● Mauna Kea is a conservation district. UH has mismanaged these conservation lands for decades, and the BLNR has allowed it. The Hawai`i State Auditor found UH’s management of Mauna Kea “inadequate to ensure the protection of natural resources” and neglected cultural values in favor of financial gains. The law protects the integrity of Mauna Kea’s Conservation District lands. You have a right to demand a better future and better management of Mauna Keaʻs natural and cultural resources.
Astronomy and industrial development are NOT protected by the law. There is NO “right to develop” on public trust conservation lands.
The DLNR staff taking your testimony at this hearing are paid with YOUR tax dollars, and are PUBLIC servants. They work for you! You have a right to demand they act in the greater public interest–that they act in YOUR interest–not just the interests of TMT Corporation and their partners.
Good Questions to Ask About the TMT:
Why is the University of Hawaii the applicant when this is a telescope owned by the TMT corporation?
How can the University of Hawaii pretend to be both the manager/overseer of telescopes on the summit, as well as the proponent of new telescopes on the summit? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?
Where is the burial treatment plan? Mauna Kea is a burial ground. We know that The TMT proposes to dig two (2) stories below ground and to disturb an area bigger than 9 football fields. What is the plan for if burials are discovered?
Won’t the TMT negatively impact the cultural and religious sites and uses on Mauna Kea. Isn’t the DLNR mandated to protect these sites and access to them? Is corporate profit a right that DLNR is mandate to protect?
Where is the endangered species “take” permit? Telescope activity has already destroyed 90% of Wekiu habitat, making it a candidate for listing on the Endangered Species List.
What is the carrying capacity of the summit? The legal limit set for the number of telescopes was eleven (11) major and two (2) minor telescopes no bigger than 125 feet in diameter. No new limit based on current cultural and natural resource data has been provided to suggest that limit should be changed? Isn’t the TMT bigger? How can DLNR recommend issuing a CDUP on such a big telescope and be in compliance with the law?
What are the eight criteria for a CDUP–construction permit? How does the TMT satisfy these criteria? Can the DLNR issue a CDUP if any of these criteria are not met?
How can a CDUP be issued if the TMT admits it will contribute to the substantial adverse impact telescope construction has had on the summit? Doesn’t the law specifically prohibit permits to be issued for activities that have substantial adverse impacts?
The TMT suggests making the TMT to look like a pu`u (cinder cone peak). How can adding a artificial “pu`u” to the mountain’s profile qualify as the one of the eight criteria, which requires the project to be “compatible with the locality and surrounding areas, appropriate to the physical conditions and capabilities of the specific parcel”?
How loud will the 18-story TMT be? Give us a decibel number — it’s not mentioned in the CDUA.
What is in the chemical mirror wash? What chemicals are actually used to clean and re-aluminze the many mirror segments? How much chemical mirror wash wastewater will be produced every week? Where will the wastewater from the chemical mirror wash go? Does Hawaii County’s wastewater system have the capacity to treat that much toxic waste on a weekly basis? What is the cumulative impact of all of the hazardous waste used by all of the other telescopes?
What is the emergency clean up plan for the other toxic chemicals, such a 2,500 gallons of disel fuel TMT is proposing to store above ground? What is the cumulative impact of all of the hazardous waste used by all of the other telescopes?
What is the geology of the TMT site? Will dynamite be used to dig through the blue stone to dig the two stories below ground?
How will the hydrology of Mauna Kea be impacted by blasting or heavy ramming underground. How will such digging impact the the hydrology and the flow of water down hill?
If an accident occurs on the summit and the toxic wastewater is spilled, who will be responsible for cleaning up the spill, monitoring the water quality, and providing for health services if the community needs any in the future?
Why does Kahu Ku Mauna, a University y appointed group get to identify days for cultural practice (i.e. identifying only four (4) days per year) when the TMT will “minimize daytime activity.” What about the cultural practitioners not represented by Kahu Ku Mauna? What about the many culturally significant ceremonies on the summit that require quiet during other times of the year.
What is the decommissioning plan for the TMT? Has the TMT committed to “fully restore” the natural landscape by 2033 when UH’s lease ends? Why not?
If any telescope owners fail to fully restore the summit land when they are done using Mauna Kea, when UH’s lease ends in 2033, who will be responsible for cleaning up the telescopes? The taxpaying public?
Will the TMT being paying rent for all the telescopes on the summit? What is the cumulative impact on the State’s general fund for the international telescope institution’s and corporation’s failure to pay fair market lease rent al these years. How much money has BLNR collected since 1968? Where is the money deposited?
Is job creation and economic development a factor the DLNR is allowed to consider when issuing a conservation district use permit (CDUP)? Is it apart of the eight (8) criteria or are the criteria only for protecting the cultural and natural resources of the conservation district?
Where will the people of Hawai`i get clean water from if our primary aquifir is contaminated by toxic waste? Who will die if the TMT isn’t built on Mauna Kea? Who will die if the aquifer is contaminated by toxic wastewater spills?