Lā 115: Kōnane keeps getting better and better.

Lawsuit seeks injunction to block TMT

Published by TOM CALLIS Hawaii Tribune-Herald    July 18, 2015 - 1:30am

Screen Shot 2015 07 12 At 07.36.22 PmA Hilo Circuit Court judge will consider granting a preliminary injunction halting construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope in September, assuming the lawsuit isn’t dismissed by then.

East Hawaii residents Kaniu Kinimaka-Stocksdale and Mike Yellen are requesting the injunction as part of a legal challenge of the University of Hawaii’s authority to grant subleases to observatories on Mauna Kea.

Judge Glenn Hara on Friday scheduled a hearing regarding that request for Sept. 18.

A motion to dismiss filed by attorneys representing UH, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Office of Mauna Kea Management will be heard Aug. 19.

The lawsuit argues the state can’t sublease the mountain’s summit because it is “crown land,” in reference to lands the Hawaiian monarchy directly owned and were transferred to the United States following annexation.

Plaintiffs say the state doesn’t have authority over such lands, UH’s lease incorrectly refers to the property as “demised land,” and that subleasing the land is a violation of the Hawaii Homestead Act of 1920.

Kinimaka-Stocksdale is a former Hawaii County Council candidate.

She represents Puna on the state’s Aha Moku advisory committee for Hawaii Island, according to the group’s website.

The state Supreme Court is hearing a separate case challenging TMT’s conservation district land use permit.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.