On Friday evening, the Hawaii emergency rule on Mauna Kea access was invalidated by the state Circuit Court.
The Hawaii emergency rule on Mauna Kea access has been set in place in order to restrict access of protesters on the Mauna Kea Observatory access road. Following continuing controversy on the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop the Mauna Kea mountain, on what is considered sacred ground, more and more protesters took to the area.
Consequently, the emergency rule was signed into law to prevent any further protests. Residents of the state of Hawaii and not only were not allowed to camp or possess camping equipment in the area. Also, access in the area was not allowed between 10:00 PM and 04:00 AM with the exception of vehicles. Stopping your vehicle within a mile of the Mauna Kea access road was prohibited, as well as walking or camping.
For the native Hawaiians, the Mauna Kea mountain is sacred. On this sacred ground reigns one of the world’s largest observatory for submillimeter, infrared and optical astronomy. The Thirty Meter Telescope would come as a welcome addition to the scientific hub. Not so for the majority of Hawaiians.
The lawsuit that resulted in the invalidation of the emergency rule was filed by lawyer David Kauila Kopper on behalf of a state resident. Mr. Kopper, also working with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., declared:
“The state adopted an illegal rule to prevent opposition to the TMT at the expense of sincere cultural practices and public expression”.
The rule was adopted on July 10th by the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources. Now, as the Hawaii emergency rule on Mauna Kea access was invalidated, the joint statement of the chairwoman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Attorney General declared that the state abides by the court’s decision.
At the same time, the joint statement reminded Hawaii residents that obstructing access to the Mauna Kea Observatory road is still illegal, whatever form it takes.
Despite heated protests, it seems like the Thirty Meter Telescope is to be finished by 2024.
Photo Credits: wikimedia