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We have done an excellent job of standing up for Hawaii’s conservation lands and waters!  Last Fall, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) proposed a suite of regulatory rollbacks in Hawaii’s conservation areas.  Hundreds of individuals and organizations stepped up to defend Hawaii’s sacred and significant lands, and the DLNR staff listened. The majority of these rollbacks have been abandoned!!  Please make a point to thank the DLNR staff for listening.

BUT (there’s always a but), three major loopholes still linger. We need your help right now to halt them.

1. Just add “comprehensive”: by changing definitions and re-structures subsections, the new rules would effectively erase the Third Circuit Court’s ruling in favor of protecting Mauna Kea’s natural and cultural resources through comprehensive management.

We can prevent this rollback by asking DLNR to insert the word “comprehensive” into the sections that require management plans for astronomy facilities.  This should be extended to include open ocean aquaculture facilities too.

With this one word, Hawaii’s land managers could abandon the piecemeal decision-making that has allowed so much of our public trust lands and waters to be sacrificed in the past. And instead embrace truly comprehensive management, where resource protection is the primary purpose of all decision-making.

2. Protective zone is not an energy production zone: The new rules would allow for renewable energy production facilities to be located in the most protected subzone of the conservation district.  This makes no sense.  We all support renewable energy, but not when it is pitted against the protection of our most fragile wilderness areas.

3. Public oversight on commercial uses: The new rules would take away the requirement that commercial activities in the conservation district undergo a public hearing.  There is a lot of opportunity for abuse in these situations.  At the very least, commercial use of state (ceded) lands in the conservation district should undergo public hearing and Board approval.

Please attend the hearings this week and next (info below) and thank DLNR staff for listening and urge them to close the last loopholes.

Hearings start at 5:30 pm:

  • January 24, 2011 Waiehu, Maui
    Paukukalo Community Center, 657 Kaumualii St.
  • January 25, 2011 Hilo, Hawaii
    Hawaii County Council Room, 25 Aupuni St.
  • January 31, 2011 Kaunakakai, Molokai
    Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa St.
  • February 1, 2011 Lihue, Kauai
    Lihue Library, 4344 Hardy St.
  • February 7, 2011 Kona, Hawaii
    Mayor’s Conf. Room, 75-5706 Kuakini Hwy, Rm 103
  • February 9, 2011 Honolulu, Oahu
    Kalanimoku Bldg., 1151 Punchbowl St., Rm 132
  • Link to Proposed Rule Changes:
    www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl

    Mahalo nui,
    Marti and All Us Guys at KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

    1149 Bethel St., #415
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    www.kahea.org
    blog.kahea.org

    phone: 808-524-8220 (O`ahu), 877-585-2432 toll-free
    email: kahea-alliance@hawaii.rr.com

    KAHEA: the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance is a network of thousands of diverse individuals islands-wide and around the world. Together, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for Hawaii’s most ecologically unique and culturally sacred places and resources.

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From Marti:

Hearings tonight:
1/11 (Tuesday) at Hilo Intermediate 6-9pm
1/12 (Wednesday) at Waimea Elementary and Intermediate 5:30-9pm

This week, the U.S. Army is holding two hearings on its plan to expand operations at Pohakuloa Training Area to include risky high-altitude helicopter training on the sacred slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. If can, please attend a hearing near you, and pass along the word to others!

This type of high-altitude military training exercise caused a crash in the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve in 2003, where an irreplaceable cultural and natural area was damaged.

So far, the U.S. Army has done very little study on how these activities will impact irreplacable cultural and natural resources, endangered species, access, cultural practice, or hiking/recreation on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

You can find more details and talking points below. Please let the Army know that Hawai`i demands better for our sacred mountains.

Mahalo nui,
Marti

—————-

Proposed Action: High-elevation, high-risk helicopter training exercises in the protected forest reserves of Mauna Kea

– The proposed project area encompasses the Kīpuka ‘Āinahou Nene Wildlife Sanctuary, Palila bird critical habitat, a Native bird flight corridor, game management areas, as well as the habitat for twenty-one plant, thirteen insect, and ten bird and mammal species under state and/ or federal protection.

– Similar attack helicopter training exercises in Hawai`i have resulted in numerous crashes, injuries and fatalities. In 2009, the CAB lost two pilots when their Kiowa Warrior helicopters took a “hard landing” and crashed in flames near Schofield Barracks. Two other army aviators died when their Cobra helicopter malfunctioned over Schofield in 1996.  Six soldiers (4 of whom were from the CAB) were killed and 11 injured when two Black Hawk helicopters collided during a night training exercise over Kahuku in 2001.

Talking Points:

Environmental Assessment is Inadequate: The Army’s Environmental Assessment is not forthcoming about the threats expanded military exercises on Mauna Kea pose to Native Hawaiian rights, fragile ecosystems, nor to other recreational uses of the area. Nor does it detail mechanisms whereby the Army can be held accountable.

Require an Environmental Impact Statement: The Army must complete a full environmental impact statement — not the minimal environmental assessment conducted so far — on all of the Army training at PTA.  This EIS must include a cumulative impact assessment of all land uses threatening Mauna Kea (like the new giant telescope proposal).  The EA fails to adequately analyze: (1) noise impacts, (2) risks to recreational users, (3) threats to protected and endangered species in the project area.

Require a Cultural Impact Assessment: This EIS should also satisfy Hawaii’s state environmental reporting requirement for a cultural impact assessment. The Army’s EA notes some historic properties of cultural significance in the landing zones.  Instead of studying these areas more closely, the Army’s EA relies on the 2009 University of Hawaii Comprehensive Management Plan.

Mitigate Accidents:  This type of high-risk trainings have been linked to many accidents.  In 2003, the exact same kind of training resulted in a helicopter crash in the Mauna Kea Ice Age NARS.

As people who love and care for our beloved Mauna Kea, your testimony can help to protect this area from the harms of these dangerous military exercises.  Please attend these important hearings and spread the word!

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Testimony from Jim Albertini in opposition to the TMT.  Mahalo Uncle Jim for coming to the meeting and sharing your mana‘o!

Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
ja@interpac.net Visit us on the web at www.malu-aina.org

Office of Conservation and Coastal Management
Department of Land and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, Hawaii 96809

December 2, 2010

Re: CDUA HA 3568  for the Thirty Meter Telescope

The TMT project has the same smell as the fast track DLNR plan years back to put geothermal development in the Natural Area Reserve Conservation district known as the Wao kele O Puna Rainforest –the last remaining intact lowland rainforest in Hawaii.   That misguided effort resulted in hundreds of arrests for non-violent civil resistance and was stopped over the failure to do a Federal EIS.  The same may be required for the TMT.  Federal funds are involved and no Federal EIS has been done.

Our non-profit organization, Malu Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action, grows food to share with people in need and to support the work of justice, peace, and preserving the environment.  We stand in strong opposition to the Conservation District Use Permit requested for the Thirty Meter Telescope on sacred Mauna Kea.  We recommend that the Board deny the permit request for the following reasons.

The current state of Mauna Kea represents a microcosm of our planet heading off the cliff of Global Warming due to over-development.

For our planet, the evidence is crystal clear that the present course of industrial development is heading for unprecedented catastrophe.  But are we willing to seriously change the way we live, and the decisions we make day to day.  Are we willing to put conservation before development?

On Mauna Kea —
1.  We know that the cumulative impacts on Mauna Kea according to the 2005 EIS done by NASA are “substantial, adverse and significant” yet we still go forward with more building: 5 meter telescopes, 10  meters, now 30 meters, with no end in sight.  The “bigger is better” logic will eventually put a mirror over the entire summit.
2.  We know that No study has been done to assess the carrying capacity of the mountain for development.
3.  We know that the University of Hawaii and its self appointed Mauna Kea Management Board  are in a position of conflict of interest.  The University benefits financially from telescope development yet it is suppose to be a management entity for conservation on the mountain.  The record is clear: development trumps conservation.  When will we learn?  When will we reverse course and put conservation before development?

For our organization the bottom line is this.  The host culture of Hawaii tells us that the summit of Mauna Kea is the most sacred temple in all Hawaii.  In fact, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are two of the most sacred sites in all the Pacific.  Do we simply hear those words but have no understanding of their meaning?  Or do we understand but disregard the meaning out of other concerns –science, prestige, development money and jobs?  In any case, to proceed with further development in the summit area of Mauna Kea is desecration of the most sacred temple in Hawaii.  It is disrespectful.  It is shameful.  In the Judeo/Christian sense, it is sacrilegious.  It is sinful.  The irony is that looking into the heavens will be our downfall because we have not shown respect.  We look into space but not listen to the native people of this place.  If we want to be pono, the means we use must be in line with the end that we seek.  It is time to live aloha — live the principles of non-violence in Hawaii and around the world.  Aloha demands justice. The conflict over expanding construction on Mauna Kea, like the expansion of militarism and warfare training at Pohakuloa represent sores/infections on the ‘aina.  They are symptoms of a deeper problem.  What is truly needed to heal is to end the ongoing illegal U.S. Occupation of Hawaii.  I am confident that a reinstated independent nation of Hawaii would never permit the desecration of its most sacred temple.

Deny this permit request.  Mahalo.

James V. Albertini
President


Jim Albertini

Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action

P.O.Box AB

Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760

phone: 808-966-7622

email: JA@interpac.net

Visit us on the web at: www.malu-aina.org

 

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From Marti:

We are getting lots of reports from people who attended the public hearing in Hilo on whether to grant a construction permit for the TMT on Mauna Kea.  From what we heard:

51 people testified, 31 in opposition (UH Hilo students were well-represented).

Meeting went to 10:00 pm.

People really engaged with staff representing DLNR for their failure to adequately protect the natural and cultural resources of the conservation on the summit.

There is a second hearing tonight in Kona.  6 pm at NELHA.

Check out these reports in the local news:

http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2010/12/03/video-hawaii-sounds-off-on-planned-thirty-meter-telescope/

http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2010/12/03/local_news//local02.txt


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From Kealoha of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou:

Aloha Mauna Kea `Ohana,

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!

Kealoha Pisciotta

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!

Aloha,

The Mauna Kea Hui

Kealoha Pisciotta

Mauna Kea `Ānaina Hou

Clarence Kukauakahi Ching

Kalai Moku, Ali`i Sir Paul K. Neves, Royal Order of Kamehameha I

KAHEA to Battle to Save Mauna Kea

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?

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From Marti:

Several groups and individuals have already submitted comments on the University of Hawaii’s request for a construction permit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea.  From our review of the application, it would be illegal to issue this permit:

Given the conclusion of previous environmental reviews, the TMT could not avoid concluding that:

“From a cumulative perspective, the impact on cultural resources has been and would continue to be substantial, adverse and significant.”

The regulations implementing Hawai‘i’s conservation district protections are clear. To issue a permit for a land use in the conservation district, the applicant must demonstrate that:

“The proposed land use will not cause substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources within the surrounding area, community or region.”

This means that given the conclusions of the TMT EIS, CDUA, and Management Plan, the Department cannot legally grant the TMT a permit to build in the conservation district, no matter how well it mitigates its negative impacts.

Full written comments:

KAHEA’s comments, November 23, 2010
Joint comments of the Mauna Kea hui, November 22, 2010

Public hearings will be held Thursday at the County Council Building in Hilo at 6 pm and on Friday in Kona at NELHA at 6 pm.  The BLNR is expected to make a decision sometime in the Spring of 2011, probably in Honolulu.

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A few weeks ago, the TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope) Corporation submitted their application for a Conservation District Use Permit for their proposed telescope development, and accompanying office building, road and parking lot. If approved, this development will represent the largest expansion of industrial land use on Mauna Kea’s summit in 15 years. You can download the application here: http://bit.ly/cbxmTr

Public hearings on the TMT permit application will be held on December 2 (Hawaii County Council Room, Hilo) and December 3 (NELHA Gateway Center). More hearing info at:  http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/hearings-workshops

We’re still reading through the documents, and we’ll be back with our comments and analysis soon. In the meantime, we wanted to share 3 facts, and 3 questions about the current paradigm of managment and decision-making on Mauna Kea:

– There exists a Mauna Kea Management Board, which is supposed to be like a community management entity. It is comprised of seven members of the community who are nominated by the UH Hilo Chancellor and approved by the UH Board of Regents. (see http://www.malamamaunakea.org/?page_id=80) UH appoints 100% of the
members of this Management Board, while at the same time benefiting financially from accelerated telescope development, in what they claim to be a “correct and representative” process.

– Mauna Kea is currently being leased and subleased for $1/year. (Some of the sub-leases are gratis!) Hawaii law (HRS 171) says that “ceded” lands (crown lands) must be leased for fair-market value. We know that telescope “viewing time” can go for at least $80,000/night (this is what Yale recently agreed to pay in a $12 million dollar deal with the
Keck Observatory) http://opa.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=6437. How is $1/year fair-market value for the years of development that has already taken place? We are now being asked to consider further development, under an existing economic paradigm which does not conform to the law.

– No study has ever been conducted to assess the carrying capacity of the mountain for development. Further, the only cummulative study on the impacts of past development (an EIS conducted by NASA in 2005, as a result of litigation by OHA) found the cummulative impacts of telescope development on Mauna Kea to be “significant, substantial and adverse.” Hawaii state law prohibits permits for projects in conservation districts that cause significant and adverse harm.

Three Questions:
(1) What is the carrying capacity of the summit for development? How can we know, unless we study it?
(2) How intensely can we industrialize in the conservation district, before its meaning and purpose as conservation lands is lost?
(3) Are the current “economics” of telescope development ($1/year leases) leading to optimal allocation of resources between astronomy and cultural and natural resources? Who wins? Who loses?

*Take action for Mauna Kea and protection of Hawai`i’s sacred summits today! Sign the petition at: http://bit.ly/petitionsacredsummits

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