(BIVN) – Five months go today, 38 kūpuna were arrested on the Mauna Kea Access Road as they stood opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope project planned for the mountain. There has been no progress on the TMT since that day.
The kiaʻi remain encamped along the Daniel K. Inouye Highway at the intersection of Puʻuhuluhulu and the start of the summit road. Police assigned to the encampment continue “stepped up traffic enforcement efforts” in the area. For the state, the costs have been piling up.
“As you are aware, we’ve spent about 15 million dollars in trying to provide
safe and secure access for Mauna Kea,” said Governor David Ige during a Monday press conference. He said they “continue to work and have discussions with County, the TMT project itself, and other stakeholders in our community, in search of a peaceful resolution.”
The governor was speaking at a podium as he unveiled his Executive Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2019-21.
“I have asked state departments to develop contingency plans and budgets should the disagreement on Mauna Kea Access Road continue,” Governor Ige said. “We continue to work on these requirements, making sure that we have access to the resources we believe is necessary to ensure safe and peaceful access. And I think, most importantly, to ensure that we can assure the rule of law and the project can continue as permitted.”
When construstion on TMT was first set to begin on July 15, the Governor says “none of us had anticipated what effort would be required to assure a safe and peaceful access.”
“Certainly, it’s cost more than we thought it would,” Ige said. “But, part of the notion is that we believe we have an obligation to ensure that those that are legally permitted with projects have the ability to access their construction sites so that the projects can move forward.”
When asked if the administration is keeping the costs of the situation on Maunakea in mind with his supplemental budget proposal, the governor said “we certainly look to incorporate estimates of what we think is necessary in the budget.”
“We’ve asked [departments] to develop contingency requests,” Governor Ige said. When asked for a figure, the governor said he did not have the number with him.