HILO, Hawaii – Retired Judge Riki May Amano says her decision to allow the group known as PUEO, or Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, to participate in the TMT contested case hearing will stand.
Mehana Kihoi filed a challenged PUEO’s right to participate, saying in her motion that the group “cannot demonstrate that it will be directly and immediately affected by the requested action” and that “their support for enhanced educational opportunities through the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope… is not a ‘right distinguishable from the general public’.”
“PUEO confuses the issues by asserting standing solely based on their Native Hawaiian ancestry and their status as cultural practitioners,” Kihoi wrote. “The construction of TMT does not protect or preserve customary and traditional rights.”
Kihoi also asserted in her filing that PUEO takes “substantially the same position” as the applicant University of Hawaii-Hilo, and to admit PUEO will not add “any new relevant information.”
Kihoi also raised a concern over an alleged conflict of interest with BLNR and UHH, in particular, business ties PEUO members may have to land board member Stanley Roehrig.
During the pre-hearing conference in Hilo, Kihoi turned to the table where PUEO members and their attorney sat and told them she meant “no disrespect at all when I wrote this, and I prayed for all of you while I was on the summit yesterday.”
“I will not let this process divide our community and our people,” Kihoi said.
TMT and UHH defended PUEO in filed motions.
“There is not any other party in this proceeding that has a voice as unique as PUEO’s,” stated TMT attorney Douglas Ing. “They are cultural practitioners. They speak with a very unique voice that’s different from other cultural practitioners who are parties. And on that basis alone, your honor, they are not represented by any other party to this proceeding and they should be heard on these issues as a party.”
In denying Kihoi’s motion, Amano said she granted PUEO’s motion to intervene as a discretionary decision under the rules, and said she “felt that PUEO’s participation would assist me in learning about the issues and making the right decisions.”
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.