MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – A site visit was made to the summit of Mauna Kea on September 26, as part of the second Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing now underway.
Objections to the way the site visit was carried out have already been filed by opponents of the TMT project.
Contested case participant Cindy Freitas said the “fast track” visit neglected to carry out proper protocols, and the “right of her culture and traditional and religion practices” were violated.
I sat in the van and cried while we pass the AHU SITE (a place of worship) and I was told by the driver he was instructed that no one can come out of the van nor I could view the rope that holds the helium balloon, it did not seem to be a 187 feet it seems to be much shorter.
The Driver drove the van to the TMT proposed location and then to the summit loop road near the Keck Observatory and to the Batch plant where we could go out and use the bathroom and back into the van and back down to Hale Pohaku. It only lasted less than 2 hours.
Judge Amano said before the site visit that there would not be any stops because “safety is the primary concern.”
Many contested case participants did not show up for the site visit after taking issue with the mode of transportation. Mauna Kea Anaina Hou attorney Richard Wurdeman explained his clients concerns in an objection filed before the day of the site visit.
At the time of the submission of their proposed recommendations, the Petitioners were also unaware and of the belief that they would be meeting the Hearing Officer at the approved locations and would be ascending the Mauna in their own vehicles. This is a critical point in that the Petitioners’ inability to follow their cultural and traditional practices in accessing the sacred Mauna and observing strict protocols precluded them from any participation in the site cisit. in the Minute Order No. 18, it was ordered that all parties board hired tour vans in Hilo at the Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields and that there were no unscheduled or impromptu stops unless specifically authorized by the Hearing Officer. One party of the group of the Petitioners was going to attempt to board a van just to be present at the Hale Pohaku at the 9,000 foot level, an unauthorized boarding spot, as there was no other way to observe the site visit. In any event, the Petitioners object with their inability to follow strict and necessary protocols in accessing the Mauna that precluded them from participation.