(BIVN) – Governor David Ige spoke to media on Wednesday following his trip to Japan.
Over the weekend, the office of the governor announced that Ige was going to meet with Japanese officials, with whom he planned to discuss matters of economic interest for the islands. That included meetings “with key stakeholders of the Thirty Meter Telescope to provide updates on the project.”
Governor Ige said he met with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. “I was able to provide them with a current status for the project, reinforce our commitment to the rule of law, and ensuring peaceful and safe access to the project site,” Governor Ige said. “I really wanted to assure them of the efforts we are making to resolve the differences on the project.”
Governor Ige said he “talked about hoʻoponopono sessions that are being engaged in, and the reconciliation commission that I will be forming to look into the broader issues of reconciliation with the Native Hawaiian people, the State of Hawaiʻi, and the United States of America, so that we can develop a road map of reconciliation on the issue.”
On February 10, the State House Committee on Water, Land, and Hawaiian Affairs advanced a measure requesting the governor convene “a blue ribbon reconciliation commission to examine and formulate a reconciliation process relating to issues of past, present, and future importance to the native Hawaiian people, the state of Hawaʻii, and the United States of America.” The measure was reportedly amended to exclude the TMT from the conversation, however.
In late December, TMT opponents and the state agreed to stand down on the Mauna Kea Access Road for two months after the observatory said it had no plans to start construction until sometime after February. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported on February 18 that Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim has asked TMT to extend the period of inactivity for another two months.
“We don’t have a timeframe for beginning construction,” the Thirty Meter Telescope wrote on Tuesday using its official social media channels. “We continue to engage in private discussions with community members in finding a peaceful, lawful and non-violent way forward that honors and supports our scientific goals, environmental stewardship and the traditions and culture of Hawaii.”
Governor Ige said on Wednesday that Mayor Kim’s proposed delay was not discussed in Japan.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday that the Hawaiʻi State House cut more than $65 million in funding from Governor David Ige’s proposed state budget that would have covered law enforcement operations for events such as the ongoing standoff over the Thirty Meter Telescope.
The governor spent most of Wednesday’s media availability talking about COVID-19 and the state’s readiness to deal with the global coronavirus outbreak. He also talked about the effort to secure pre-clearance for flights between Japan and Hawaiʻi.
Also on Wednesday, the state shared an updated cost estimate on the government’s response to the Maunakea conflict. That includes:
- $2.6 million for the Hawaiʻi National Gaurd (up to Oct. 26)
- $150,000 for Hawaiʻi County Emergency Services (up to Aug. 1)
- $4.7 million for Hawaiʻi County Police (up to December 2019)
- $101,000 for Maui County Police
- $126,000 for Honolulu County Police
- $2.1 million for the office of the Attorney General (up to Dec. 20)
- $1.4 million for the Public Safety Department (up to December 2019)
- $275,000 for the Department of Transportation (up to August 2019)
The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement reported Wednesday that its total cost for TMT related expenses – which includes overtime, cost differentials, and other expenses like fuel, equipment, etc – is approximately roughly $1.64 million.