HILO, Hawaii – Two motions filed by the original petitioners in the TMT contested case hearing will be continued to the next pre-hearing conference on Friday, Aug. 12.
Mauna Kea Anaina Hou attorney Richard Wurdeman filed a motion to strike the conservation district use permit application, alleging the TMT Interntaional Observatory LLC is a different entity than the one in existance (TMT Observatory Corporation) when the application process began.
TMT countered by saying the CDUA was properly submitted, and that nothing in the state’s administrative rules supports the conclusion that a “minor change to a land use permit” invalidates the application.
Wurdeman also moved to disqualify the BLNR and Hearing Officer’s Counsel, “including, but not limited to, State of Hawaii Deputy Attorney Generals William J. Wynhoff, Julie H. China, and any other deputy attorney generals and Attorney General Douglas Chin, himself, from any further participation in the contested case proceedings.”
“These various attorneys have taken advocacy roles in support of and defending the issuance of the CDUP,” Wurdeman stated, “including advocating that the factors for the issuance of the CDUP, under HAR § 13-5-30(c), had been met by the University of Hawaii at Hilo in its application.”
The Office of the Attorney General retained David Louie and the law firm of Kobayashi Sugita & Goda, LLP to appear as Special Deputy Attorneys General to defend the counsel for BLNR during the contested case hearing.
The special counsel went on to argue that Wurdeman’s motion should be denied “because the Supreme Court of Hawai‘i has held that the Attorney General’s ‘affirmative duty’ to represent public officers outweighs speculative notions of bias… Petitioners apply the wrong legal standard and attempt to use a disqualification standard applicable to judges, in spite of the fact that the Department’s role in this matter is to serve as counsel to the BLNR and the Hearing Officer, and not to act in an adjudicatory capacity.”
During the pre-hearing conference in Hilo, Wurdeman said he was not served with the Special Counsel’s notice or memorandum in opposition, and Amano found he and his clients were omitted from the attorney general documents’ certificate of service list.
Retired Judge Riki May Amano did not rule on either motion, and decided to continue them both to the next hearing.
NOTE: This is one part of a multi-part video series documenting the numerous motions ruled on by Judge Amano during the August 5, 2016 pre-hearing conference. The full video collection is here.