HILO, Hawaii – E. Kalani Flores, member of the contested case participant Flores-Case ‘Ohana opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, put himself on the witness stand during Monday’s hearing.
The testimony and cross examination took the entire day to conclude. A sometimes emotional Flores made his case against the $1.5 billion observatory planned for the northern plateau of the mountain he and his family hold sacred.
Flores, who says he would normally be qualified as an expert witness through his “knowledge, skills, experience, training, ancestral connections, and education in the subject matter pertaining to Hawaiian cultural traditions including the review and assessment of cultural reports and surveys,” focused on state law in his testimony:
It is very evident that the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) construction and development within a conservation district is inconsistent with the criteria outlined in HAR § 13-5 and a permit should not be approved because the Applicant, University of Hawai‘i (UH), is not capable of fulfilling the burden of demonstrating that this project is consistent with this criteria as well as associated legal authorities. Particularly, the TMT project is not capable of meeting the Conservation District eight criteria as stipulated in HAR § 13-5-30(c).
Likewise, significant sections of the Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) HA-3568 submitted by the Applicant are incomplete and inaccurate. Also, the Applicant is not in compliance with its mandated management plans intended to protect the natural and cultural resources on Mauna Kea.
In addition, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) have not fulfilled their affirmative duty and legal obligations to protect the public lands trust, resources, and rights of the public, beneficiaries, and Native Hawaiians associated with the lands of Mauna Kea. The following testimony will highlight why the BLNR should not approve a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for the proposed TMT project.
The video above is the first of two 20 minute minute summary edits showing of key moments of the Flores testimony. Part one encapsulates the morning session. Part two will feature the second half of the day. Na Leo TV is covering the hearing live, gavel to gavel. The full archive can be found on the Na Leo TV Video on Demand page.