(BIVN) – Pua Case, one of the leaders in the Ku Kiaʻi Mauna movement and a long-standing petitioner in the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing, testified at the Hawaiʻi County Council Finance Committee meeting on Monday.
Case was one of many who spoke at the public hearing in regards to a council request for a report from the administration “regarding the extent of county agency activity” on the mountain. Mayor Harry Kim and Police Chief Paul Ferreira answered questions about recent law enforcement actions in support of the TMT project.
“I’m coming into this meeting to practice my-self discipline, because standing in front of you is nothing compared to what I’m going to be standing in front of in the very near future,” Case said.
On June 20, state and county law enforcement ascended Mauna Kea to take down two ʻahu, or stone shrines, which were placed on the site of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope back in 2015. Officers also took down Hale Kukiaʻimauna at the mid-level area, and the Hale Kūhiō ranger station on Hawaiian Home Lands next to the Mauna Kea Access Road below. Hours after the structures were dismantled, state officials held a press conference to announce the TMT project has been granted a Notice To Proceed with construction on the mountain.
“I’m asking you, do you know the amount of force that is coming at us?” Case asked the council. “Do you really know? Do you know the number of officers? Do you know the number of possible SWAT and military that are coming our way? Because I think if you do, you might owe it to us to let us know, at some point. Do you know how it’s gonna roll out? Do you know that plan? because if you don’t and you’re dealing with all of the finances, you should know.”
“If you don’t know, I’m going to charge you with finding out what are we going to be facing, because I know it’s not going to be April 2nd, 2015 and neither will it be June 24th, 2015,” Case said, referring to past law enforcement clashes with TMT opponents on the mountain, which resulted in multiple arrests. “Maybe it’s going to be like when my two daughters went to Haleakala and that was very different. And I think that this time it’s going to be even more.”
“We are the protectors, yes,” Case said as her time to speak ended, “and we are loyal to this land and we love our Hawaiʻi beyond all things, and we should not go up there unprepared. If you know what is going to happen when we get up there – and that’s what I’m asking you, because I don’t want to find out later that you knew and we were put in harm’s way. Thank you.”
Big Island Video News will be publishing other testimonies from Monday’s Council Finance Committee meeting.