NOTE: The above video, part of a series we are working on, mixes limited pool video with the official audio recording of the proceeding from the Hawaii State Judiciary. Our edited segment, which utilizes a great deal of file video, has curated and combined together all the arguments related to a particular topic. Future videos in this series will take a similar approach.
(BIVN) – On June 21, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard consolidated oral arguments for three separate appeals from the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ decision to issue of a Conservation District Use Permit, or CDUP, for the Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea.
According to the court:
The first appeal (SCOT-17-0000777) is brought by the original appellants represented by attorney Richard Wurdeman, whose previous appeal resulted in a remand to the BLNR for a new contested case hearing. See Mauna Kea Anaina Hou v. Bd. of Land & Nat. Res., 136 Hawai i 376, 363 P.3d 224 (2015). In summary, this appeal alleges that the BLNR erred by (1) denying their motion to disqualify (a) hearing officer Riki Amano and (b) BLNR’s and the hearing officer’s counsel; (2) overruling their objections to certain BLNR board members presiding in the case; (3) admitting TMT International Observatory, LLC and Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, Inc. as intervenors; (4) denying their motion to strike the CDUP application; (5) concluding that it fulfilled the requirements of Ka Pa akai O Ka Aina v. Land Use Comm’n, 94 Hawai i 31, 7 P.3d 1068 (2000), and improperly placing the burden of proof upon the appellants to establish native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices; and (6) concluding that the TMT project (a) met the criteria of Hawai i Administrative Rules §§ 13-5-30(c), and (b) did not violate Article XI, Section 1 of the Hawai s24 i Constitution and the public trust doctrine.
The second and third appeals (SCOT-17-0000811 and SCOT-17-812) are brought by attorney Gary Zamber on behalf of the Temple of Lono and seven individual intervenor-appellants, respectively. (In the latter appeal, one intervenor-appellant now represents himself.) Attorney Zamber will be able to present arguments on procedural and substantive legal issues not presented in the first appeal, such as the alleged violation of appellants’ religious rights.
The above video focuses on Wurdeman’s assertion that hearing officer Amano’s membership at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, a part of the University of Hawaii-Hilo (the CDUP applicant in the contested case) was a conflict of interest that should have resulted in her disqualification well before the hearing got underway. The video includes answers from Solicitor General Clyde Wadsworth for the Board of Land and Natural Resources, as well as John Manaut, attorney for UH-Hilo.