State Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra on Friday invalidated the Manua Kea emergency rules that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved in July to restrict access to the Big Island mountaintop in an attempt to allow construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope to proceed.
The $1.4 billion telescope construction project has been on hold since protestors placed boulders in the road to the summit in June to block vehicles from reaching the site.
The rules prohibited being within a mile of the Mauna Kea access road between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., unless in a moving vehicle. They also prohibited sleeping bags, camping stoves, tents and propane burners on the mountain at any time.
Ibarra granted a partial motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation on behalf of E. Kalani Flores.
Plaintiff’s attorney David Kauila Kopper issued a statement saying “the Court recognized that the State did not follow the rule of law in creating these emergency rules. The State can no longer arrest innocent people who are on Mauna Kea at night for cultural or spiritual reasons.”
Attorney General Doglass Chin and Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case released a joint statement in which they said “The State acknowledges the Court’s decision and will abide by it. We remind people traveling to Mauna Kea that even in light of today’s ruling existing laws and rules remain. It is always illegal to block the road. This includes standing in the road or placing obstructions in the road. These laws will continue to be enforced.”
The Mauna Kea access road, strewn with rocks, in late June.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
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