HILO, Hawaii – A highly anticipated witness took the stand during the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing on Wednesday.
Wally Ishibashi – the senior advisor for the Office Of Mauna Kea Management – is a longtime supporter of TMT, dating back to his union days with ILWU Local 142.
He is also a Native Hawaiian who traces his genealogy to Poliahu.
The University of Hawaii is currently presenting its case for a conservation district use permit that will allow the $1.4 billion dollar observatory to be built on Mauna Kea.
University attorneys are putting a variety of witnesses on the stand to support their application. Those witnesses are also undergoing lengthy cross examination.
Ishibashi has been at odds with TMT opponents. He has also taken a hard stance against the recent placement of ahu on Mauna Kea, constructed at the time of the heated standoff on the mountain.
Previous UH witnesses were focused on astronomy. Ishibashi, however, spoke primarily about Mauna Kea’s cultural resources.
During cross-examination, petitioner Kalani Flores zeroed in on the state law, under which Ishibashi operates.
The TMT contested case hearing resumes next week, and is expected to continue into January.